The Environment Ministry has officially declared that the solar panels installed along the Male-Hulhumale highway are set to become operational as of the coming month. This announcement follows President-elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s recent statement where he expressed intentions to relocate these solar panels to one or two islands.
Ifad Waheed, the Communications Officer for the World Bank-funded project, confirmed on Monday that the installation of the solar panels has been successfully completed. The next phase will involve connecting these panels to the STELCO grid.
Waheed stated, “The contractor informs us that the work will also be completed by the first week of next month. So the solar panels will be in use next month.”
The original government target for this project’s completion was set for 2021. However, delays were encountered due to challenges in material procurement resulting from global supply chain disruptions. The ministry then shifted its aim for project completion to March of this year.
President-elect Dr. Muizzu previously announced plans to remove the solar panels from the highway and relocate them to different Maldivian islands. His reasoning was that the installation was obstructing the view from the highway and creating congestion.
When questioned about this decision, Ifad declined to provide any comment.
The project, part of the World Bank-funded “Accelerating Sustainable Private Investment in Renewable Energy (ASPIRE),” was contracted to Thailand’s Encis Co Ltd in November 2020. Power generation is projected to commence next month. It is estimated that an annual savings of MVR 15-20 million can be achieved in fuel expenditures. This marks the largest solar panel installation in the country to date.