Blog Post

SimpliPhi Powers an Off-Grid Ice Cream Factory in Fiji

Now that nearly 100% of Fijians have access to electricity, but only 40% to clean energy, Fiji has set a new energy goal of 100% renewable energy by 2030. With almost 75% of total electricity consumption in Fiji coming from the commercial and industrial sector, organic ice cream factory owners Robert and Lucilla were determined to do their share to mitigate climate change as well as help Fiji reach its ambitious clean energy goal.

The commercial and industrial sectors represent 75% of energy demand in Fiji.

Robert and Lucilla initially powered the three-phase machinery in their factory by using a diesel generator. However, the generator fuel was expensive, particularly given the high cost of transportation to and from the factory. It was also difficult to obtain due to the factory’s remote location on the Fijian island of Taveuni. To make matters worse, the generator was noisy and disruptive, not only to Robert, Lucilla and the factory workers, but also to all of the farmers on the organic farmland surrounding the factory. And perhaps most importantly, using a fossil fuel-powered generator was incompatible with the mission of Robert and Lucilla’s business: to produce organic ice cream in the most sustainable way possible.

Seeking a less costly and more sustainable solution, Robert and Lucilla were referred to Solar Fiji, a trusted and longtime solar+storage installer in Fiji. Having successfully completed SimpliPhi Power’s Installer Qualification (IQ) Program and installed countless SimpliPhi energy storage solutions with solar throughout Fiji, Solar Fiji recommended Robert and Lucilla pair their solar energy system with fuel-free, 10-year warrantied, reliable PHI batteries. “We like PHI batteries because they use the safest, most environmentally benign lithium ion chemistry – lithium iron phosphate. They are also more lightweight which makes it easier for us to ship them to remote island locations. Plus, since they were proven reliable through their deployments with the U.S. military in the Middle East, we know they’ll perform successfully in our island climate,” Joe Baravi of Solar Fiji explained.

Robert and Lucilla are thrilled that they are now saving $13,000 per year by offsetting their diesel generator and fuel costs. Equally important to them is that they are no longer disrupting their own employees or neighboring businesses with the noise and pollution characteristic of fuel-based generators. Their organic mission and work environment is now predicated on a renewable energy business model in which the power of the sun, combined with environmentally friendly batteries, supports a quiet and sustainable operation now and into the future. Robert and Lucilla also love that the PHI batteries are easily scalable, making it simple for their energy storage system to grow as their nascent business grows.

This off-grid, DC-coupled, solar+storage microgrid consists of eight PHI 3.5 kWh 48V batteries for a total of 28 kWh storage, 16.8 kW of solar power, 4 Victron Smart Solar Charge Controllers and 3 Victron Multiplus 48/5000 inverters. This system also uses the Victron Color Control GX for live system performance data and remote monitoring via the free Victron VRM. In order to optimize all the assets available to the system and not let Robert and Lucilla’s generator go to waste, this microgrid  easily integrated the existing on-site generator as backup power.

Significantly, this is the first ice cream factory in Fiji powered completely by solar+storage. Although they initially planned to power just the ice cream processing equipment at the factory with the solar + SimpliPhi storage system, Robert and Lucilla decided to have their commercial microgrid also power their residence next to the factory. 

Beyond the remarkable annual cost savings, Robert and Lucilla are thrilled  to finally live their dream of running a completely sustainable and organic ice cream business thanks to the reliable and enduring SimpliPhi energy storage coupled with solar generation!