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Solar-Ice Power Plant in Dhiffushi, Maldives

Key results

  • 40 kW grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system supplies 25% of the demand of Dhiffushi’s population, under the best conditions, and accounts for approximately 5% of the island’s annual energy consumption
  • Successful model for the development of local renewable energy solutions that can be replicated across other islands in the region
  • Winner of a 2017 Energy Globe Award
  • Innovative use of an ice-making machine instead of a conventional battery system for storage that is used to preserve fish, supporting the main economic activity in Dhiffushi
  • Creates fuel savings for fishermen, who no longer need to travel to other islands to buy ice
  • Generates revenue for the Dhiffushi Island Council, which can sell the ice at a profit
  • Supports the Maldives in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals
  • Prevents 52 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually
  • Displaces 19 tonnes of diesel per year, representing approximately 18,000 USD in fuel savings

Combating climate change with local renewable energy solutions is at the heart of our award-winning solar-ice power plant on Dhiffushi Island. We built and installed this 40 kW grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) system in a fishing community in the Maldives. The system supplies 25% of the electricity demand of Dhiffushi’s population under the best conditions, and accounts for approximately 5% of the island’s annual energy consumption.

A unique feature of this project is the installation of an ice-making machine coupled with the PV system. Traditionally, similar PV electrical systems use batteries to absorb and store the excess electricity. In this case, the ice-making machine stores excess solar energy by producing ice when solar energy supplied to the system is greater than the electricity demand. This innovative feature not only provides a solution to the need expressed by Dhiffushi’s residents, but also prevents the creation of unnecessary industrial waste by avoiding the use of conventional batteries. This ice machine uses seawater to produce around 1 tonne of flake ice per day, providing a simple yet sustainable way for local fishermen to preserve fish and save costs, as they no longer need to travel to other islands to purchase expensive ice. By using excess electricity in a productive matter, the project will stimulate Dhiffushi Island’s local economy.

The project won a 2017 Energy Globe Award and is helping the Maldives take immediate action toward building a more sustainable future and implementing its commitments to the Paris Agreement by reducing the island’s fossil fuel consumption and triggering a shift away from imported diesel.

The system was monitored for two years, supporting the State Electric Company Limited (STELCO) to ensure that the necessary skills and know-how were in place to guarantee the project’s long-term performance and sustainability. GSEP designed and implemented a full training program to develop local abilities and skills, increasing local confidence for carrying out other similar projects. A three-day workshop, in addition to on-the-job-training sessions, were completed to train 19 local engineers and operators in basic knowledge of PV components and systems, practical design of PV systems, grid connectivity, construction, operation and maintenance, and editing PV system texts for replicability.

The Dhiffushi Solar-Ice Project can also serve as a model for other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that want to move away from fossil fuels and jumpstart their national climate action plans. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) aims to increase solar energy development in the region through its Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI), using the Dhiffushi Solar-Ice Project as a model. The project’s replicability stems from the design of the PV system itself. The system was designed to maximize stability with simple control logic, while incurring low costs in order to be easily replicated and deployed to other islands where potential PV output is higher than the load capacity of the local grid. This approach maximizes the percentage of PV energy used without the need to install any special countermeasures.

This bottom-up approach of promoting local renewable energy solutions not only supports the most vulnerable countries, it also builds a cleaner tomorrow for all.

"This project will not only create a momentum for the shift away from full reliance on diesel generation, but also mitigate the shortage of ice demand on Dhiffushi Island, supporting their main economic activity. We are very grateful for the support from GSEP, Kansai and the Government of Japan."


The Dhiffushi Solar Ice Project in The Maldives

Helping a climate-vulnerable nation build a clean energy future.



  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Ministry of Environment and Energy of the Maldives
  • State Electric Company Limited (STELCO)
  • Dhiffushi Island Council
  • Government of Japan
  • Asian Development Bank


Please note that the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership will cease operations as of the end of June 2024.