Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who once famously held a cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to climate change, is installing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on his official residence this week.
Donated by Sungevity, an Oakland, California based solar company, the Maldives’ PV system is grid-connected and will generate about 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per annum, providing half of the residence’s power needs, according to Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy, whose company donated and designed the installation for the Maldives’ presidential palace. South Korean company LG donated the PV modules, while the three inverters were provided by Germany manufacturer Kaco, and the mounting hardware by Ironridge.
Sungevity estimates the system will save the Maldives $300,000 over its 25-year expected lifespan. The system will go online tomorrow.
Kennedy’s company has made a similar bid to put solar on the U.S. White House for free, and started the Globama petition that garnered over 50,000 signatures. The petition and offer were hand-delivered to President Obama last month by 350.org founder Bill McKibben, who traveled to Washington with a group of students from Maine’s Unity College in an attempt to return one of former President Jimmy Carter’s solar panels to the White House roof. They were rebuked at that time, although yesterday the White House did finally announce plans to put solar back on the roof at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the near future.
Maldives President Nasheed says his country could not afford to delay another minute, with climate disruptions already impacting the tiny island nation 200 miles south southwest of the Southern tip of India. Its highest point is only 2.4 meters above sea-level, leaving residents at extreme risk from rising sea levels caused by global climate change.