With the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and rise in the price of oil, it has become of utmost importance for Mauritius, which is highly dependent on those resources, to seek for alternative energy sources to meet its growing energy demand. Being a small island developing state, Mauritius is also highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Solar energy, which is clean, inexhaustible and environmentally friendly, has emerged as a promising renewable energy source for power generation. This study was therefore initiated to assess the potential of using photovoltaic (PV) panels in a typical Mauritian household, mainly for a middle income family. The average monthly peak electricity demand of a middle income family was 171 kWh with base load of 0.3 kW. The most appropriate PV system was found to be a 1.2 kW system where 25% of the solar power produced would meet the household needs and the rest would be fed to the grid. The payback was found to be 5.34 years at a feed in tariff (FiT) of $0.70/kWh. Environmentally, such systems would save 2.60 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually and would also reduce the load on the utility grid, as part of the power would be generated by the customers.
Keywords: solar panels, solar energy, solar power, photovoltaic panels, PV panels, electricity production, carbon reduction, Mauritius, small islands, developing countries, renewable energy, payback, carbon dioxide, CO2, carbon emissions