Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Tonga Solar Plant Construction To Be Completed In 2013
Expected to reduce diesel use by 180,000 liters a year

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 19, 2012) – The construction of Vava'u's first solar power plant to be built with a US$5 million grant from the Government of Abu Dhabi is on target for completion by October 2013.

When the plant comes into operation it will save around 13 percent of the annual energy demands of Vava'u, while saving up to 180,000 liters of diesel fuel annually to reduce the cost of electricity.

Masdra, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, is in charge of the implementation and construction of the solar plant, and today signed a contract agreement with Ingenero, an Australian renewable energy company, to design and construct the solar facility through Tonga Energy Road Map Implementation Unit (TERM IU).

The signing was held in Nuku'alofa between Basel Dahleh Masdra's Project Manager, Rodger Witby, General Manager Generation for Ingenero, 'Inoke Finau Vala the new Director for TERM IU and the Solicitor General 'Aminiasi Kefu.

The design of the plant would start immediately before the construction begins in early 2013.

Basel said the project was on target for completion in October 2013.


The grid in Vava'u will have an installed capacity of 1.87 megawatts with a base demand of 500 kilowatts and during the day it can deliver more than 50 percent of base load.

Basel said the project would support the energy sector in Vava'u and financing such a vital project reflected the Government of Abu Dhabi's commitment in supporting Pacific Islands’ economic development to achieve outcome goals of sustainable development by utilizing renewable energy.

The UAE and Tonga development project was a clear case for deployment of renewable energy as a cause effective means to enable energy security and decarbonize the power sector. Both countries are also members of the International Renewable Energy Agency, he said.

Masdra is owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi and the grant is provided through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

The Tonga Government in 2010 launched the Tonga Energy Road Map 2010-20 (TERM) and set a target "that 50% of the country's electricity should be provided through renewable sources by 2012, and the overall cost of electricity should be reduced by 50%".

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