UAE, NZ ink deal to fund Solomon Islands solar project

UAE clean energy firm Masdar will develop scheme to boost power generation in Honiara, the island capital
UAE, NZ ink deal to fund Solomon Islands solar project
By Staff writer
Sat 24 Oct 2015 06:21 PM

The UAE and New Zealand have signed an agreement for the development of a jointly funded 1MW solar photovoltaic power plant in the Solomon Islands.

The UAE and New Zealand, who previously signed a renewable energy partnership arrangement in January 2014, will fund 600kW and 400kW respectively and the project will be developed by Masdar, a statement said. 

It will bring clean, reliable power to the grid in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The power plant will meet seven percent of the Solomon Islands’ energy needs and reduce CO2 emissions by over 1,200 tons while saving over approximately 450,000 litres of diesel annually, the statement added.

Jeremy Clarke-Watson, New Zealand’s Ambassador to the UAE praised the project as marking a great milestone in the ongoing cooperation between the UAE, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

He said: “New Zealand is delighted to strengthen our cooperation with the UAE in the Pacific region through this initiative – providing clean renewable energy and reducing reliance on imported fuels to support sustainable development of the Solomon Islands."

Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE permanent representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and director of energy and climate change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs added: “This project will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the people of the Solomon Islands. It will reduce their dependency on imported diesel, freeing up vital financial resources for other developmental projects.”

The solar PV plant is part of the United Arab Emirates Pacific Partnership Fund. This $50 million fund was established in 2013 to develop wind and solar projects to support economic and social development across 11 Pacific island nations with projects being delivered by Masdar and funding provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. 

Of the projects being delivered under the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, six have already been delivered or are currently under construction. The first completed project was the 512 kW solar PV installation in Tonga, while others include the first ever 550 kW wind farm for Samoa, three micro grid solar plants in Fiji that supply clean energy to some of the nation’s outer islands, and solar plants for Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu. 

New Zealand has been driving a major push to boost the uptake of renewable energy in the Pacific, and this project is part of a wider $100 million investment in renewable energy across seven Pacific Island countries.

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