JCE Energy designs and manufactures bespoke modular solar panel installation for an unmanned wellhead platform offshore Angola

In the dynamic world of energy production, power lies at the core of operations. It serves as the lifeblood that drives every aspect of the industry. From drilling and extraction to processing and distribution, power is the essential force that enables reliable and continuous uptime.

Without it, the entire chain of operations and revenue grind to a halt.

At JCE Energy, we are committed to delivering engineering solutions for electrical control systems that not only benefit our clients today but also future-proof their operations for tomorrow, supporting energy transition by harnessing solar energy offshore.


Leveraging cutting-edge technology, JCE Energy designed, manufactured and supplied a solar power system designed for the South N'dola wellhead platform. The system incorporates high-efficiency solar panels suitable for the challenging offshore conditions, and engineered to maximize energy capture in the maritime environment, where space is at a premium and resilience against saltwater corrosion and storm conditions is paramount. The modular design allows for scalability, ensuring the system can be expanded to meet future energy needs without extensive redesign or disruption to platform operations. Coupled with advanced energy storage solutions, the system guarantees a reliable power supply, even during periods of low sunlight. 

  • Activating change for energy transition
    Introducing solar power to support operations of an unmanned wellhead platform, enabling energy transition and ensuring long-term viability and adaptability in a changing energy landscape.
  • Carbon footprint reduction
    Implementing engineering design, manufacture, and installation of Class I Division 2 (CID2) Hazardous Area Solar Power System to reduce reliance on diesel generators, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by at least 90%
  • CAPEX and OPEX Savings:
    Providing long-term cost-saving solutions that optimise overall expenditure by 36%* and equipment lifespan by at least 100%
  • Scalable Design
    The rig now features a scalable design, allowing for the easy addition of solar skids for increased energy needs in the future.

Customer’s challenge

JCE Energy was approached by a client to design, manufacture and supply a solar energy system to power a wellhead platform, for the South N’dola development offshore Angola.

The platform’s initial design did not account for the solar power system and the space it would require, which posed a challenge to the electrical engineering design team at JCE Energy.

This project was a first of its kind for the client due to it being frame-based design for modular application. As experts with a successful track record in bespoke engineering design of Class I Division 2 (CID2) Hazardous Area Solar Power Systems, JCE’s team was qualified for the task despite many challenges presented.

The project required:

  • Equipment suitable for operation in a Class 1 Div 2 offshore environment in the form of a modular solar panel system installation of over 100 solar panels and a back up power supply that is scalable without compromising space requirements on the platform.
  • Secure connectivity

We supported the client’s electrical/mechanical design team to optimise the process, allowing ease of maintenance for any section of the plant.

Our solutions allowed for minimal disruption to the working operations of the site, ensuring efficiency and safety of personnel at all times.

JCE Energy solutions for the project’s challenges:

  • Design restrictions:
    As the platform’s design did not account for the solar system including its back up power supply, the project posed additional challenges with space and placement restrictions. JCE Energy’s engineering design team worked closely with the client to provide a solution for the existing rig infrastructure available primarily, and only changing out the essential fixtures required to ensure the safe and sustainable operation of the power system.
  • Secure Connectivity
    The system seamlessly integrates a secure Modbus TCP/IP connection for localized control and monitoring.


By leveraging JCE Energy’s expertise in design and manufacture of solar power systems we achieved significant results for our client:

  • Reduced CO2 emission by eliminating reliance on traditional diesel generators.
    The unmanned platform was transitioned to being powered with over 100 solar panels, reducing reliance on traditional diesel generators and, therefore, reducing CO2 emissions by over 90%.
  • Secure connectivity
    The system is engineered for adaptability, facilitating remote monitoring through various interfaces like satellite transmission, secure WiFi, Secure 4G network, and Bluetooth. This incorporation of remote monitoring substantially boosts operational safety by reducing the necessity for personnel to interact directly with potentially hazardous areas, consequently slashing OPEX and maintenance costs.
  • Significant Maintenance Cost Reduction
    Platform power supply maintenance requirements in man-hours were drastically reduced from 552 man-hours per year to 114 man-hours, resulting in an efficiency of 79% per year, delivering long-term savings for the client.
  • OPEX reduction
    While the initial Capital Expenditure on the project was slightly higher than a traditional diesel generator would require, the long-term Operating Expenditure is expected to be significantly reduced, leading to substantial cost savings of around £4,500,000 over the 30-year lifespan of the platform.

Through our collaborative and innovative effort with the client, the platform is now designed to accommodate additional solar power frame easily, offering scalability and flexibility for the rig’s future power needs, with no additional environmental impact.

With an average lifespan of an unmanned wellhead platform being 30-years, the South N'dola project stands as a testament to the evolving energy sector's potential to balance operational needs with environmental and social responsibilities

*calculated based on price of diesel at £1.2 per litre per https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/costs/fuel-prices


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