Pacific islands launch UAE-funded solar power projects

Tuvalu inaugurates 500kW solar PV power plant while 500kW solar PV and water plant in Kiribati is also set to be launched

Two Pacific island nations will this week inaugurate individual solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants funded by the UAE and developed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

Tuvalu inaugurated a 500kW solar PV power plant on the atoll of Funafuti while a 500kW solar PV and water protection plant on the Tarawa atoll of the Republic of Kiribati, will also be officially launched this week. 

The inaugurations mark the completion of the two solar PV projects co-designed and managed by Masdar in cooperation with the governments of the Pacific island countries of Tuvalu and Kiribati.  

The projects form part of the UAE’s support for economic and social development of Pacific island nations, while also showcasing the viability of sustainable clean energy development models. 

The projects aim to reduce the Pacific island nations’ dependency on imported diesel, freeing up essential financial resources for other developmental projects.

The plant located on Funafuti – the most populated atoll that hosts the capital of the Tuvalu island nation – was funded by the $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

It will not only supply electricity to over 800 homes by yearly generating 783,000kWh, but will also save 206,000 litres of diesel each year – bringing about a saving of $280,000 and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 570 tons annually.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, said: “These two projects not only demonstrate the UAE and Masdar’s commitment to helping Pacific island nations deploy sustainable renewable energy solutions, which play a vital role in driving forward the social and economic development for the people of Tuvalu and Kiribati, but clearly, and equally important, also highlight the ongoing work we are doing to combat climate change through our renewable energy projects.”

The Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, added: “The Solar Space Creation Project could not have come at a better time as the price of fuel has soared in recent years.  This project would contribute approximately 40 percent towards the Tuvalu Electricity Corporation peak demand which could save more than 200,000 litres of diesel fuel per annum.”

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