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Thu 19 May 2016 11:59 PM

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UAE, NZ launch solar power project in Solomons Island

UAE clean energy firm Masdar behind plant to meet 7% of country's electricity needs

UAE, NZ launch solar power project in Solomons Island

The UAE and New Zealand have inaugurated a solar power plant in Solomon Islands, developed and deployed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

The project was deployed as part of the $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF) financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the development arm of the UAE government. 

The 1MW photovoltaic plant will meet seven percent of the country’s electricity needs and is the result of collaboration between the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT), with Masdar as the executing partner.

Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand, said in a statement that the project will deliver real benefits for the people of Honiara. 

“We are very pleased to have partnered with the UAE to support the development of this solar plant. The project arose out of the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland and highlights what can be achieved when donors work together with a common aim," he said.

Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State for International Cooperation, added: “The UAE’s cooperation with New Zealand, realised through a Masdar-deployed project, is supporting Solomon Islands to tap into its renewable energy potential.

"Today’s inauguration is a testament to how strong public-private partnerships can provide solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to energy security, to socio-economic development.”

Previously, 90 percent of the electricity produced in the country came from diesel generators located in the city of Honiara on Guadalcanal, one of the islands that make up Solomon Islands.

The 1MW solar plant will help save more than 454,469 litres of diesel fuel every year at a value of $577,176, while offsetting a total of 1,254 tons of CO2 emissions. 

The agreement between the UAE and New Zealand to develop the solar power project in Solomon Islands was signed in October 2015. The agreement built on earlier cooperation in renewable energy across the Pacific including Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu. 

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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