They’re part of a total shipment of about 1000 tonnes, with General Transport already having carted 200 of the blocks, which weigh more than a tonne each. The current shipment consists of 100 blocks, with at least another 100 to be shipped at a later date.
Upon arrival in Mangaia, the pre-cast blocks, made by Mike Rennie, will become part of the base for the foundations of Mangaia’s new solar panel array.
Once concreted into the ground, galvanised frames will be mounted on the blocks, with the panels of the solar array sitting in the frames.
As well as more than 100 tonnes of concrete, a General Transport spokesman said the barge would also be carrying general cargo, freezer goods and personal effects, and would be stopping at Mauke, Mitiaro and Atiu as well as Mangaia.
Loading will be complete on Saturday morning for a Sunday departure time, with the Layar Mas estimated to arrive back in Rarotonga sometime next Thursday.
The new solar array on Mangaia is part of the CI Southern Group Renewable Energy Project, implemented by the Asian Development Bank and also funded by the European Union, the Global Environment Fund, the government of Japan through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and the government of the Cook Islands.
The project involves the installation of new power stations and solar PV arrays on the southern islands. Mangaia was the last island work was started on, with a contractor beginning construction in February this year.
The Mangaia solar project site covers an area of 1.2 hectares. The proposed design is for 460Kw solar with 3.4MWH batteries, as well as a new powerhouse for batteries, inverters and a control system.
The work is scheduled to be completed by June 2018.