UAE develops a solar power plant in Solomon Islands
The United Arab Emirates and New Zealand, yesterday inaugurated a solar power plant in Solomon Islands developed and deployed by Masdar the executive partner.
The project was developed with a Dh183 million grant as part of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, supported by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
The 1-megawatt photovoltaic plant (PV) will meet 7% of the country’s electricity needs and represents an innovative approach to development cooperation, merging strong government-to-government partnership with commercial innovation.
Development of the PV facility 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).
Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand, underscored that the project will deliver real benefits for the people of Honiara and highlights the emerging cooperation between the two countries in the Pacific.
The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in response to the identification of renewable energy as a key growth enabler at the January 2012 Pacific Leaders’ Meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Masdar was appointed to design and implement the projects by working closely with partners in the UAE and the host nation.
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 increase 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.
New Zealand and the European Union will co-host a Pacific Energy Conference in Auckland, 7 June 2016. The Conference will confirm continued commitments for sustainable energy in the Pacific region and review access to electricity, private sector investment, innovation and climate change.
The inauguration in Solomon Islands is the first of five planned inaugurations of Masdar-developed projects, marking the completion of ‘Cycle 2’ of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund. In ‘Cycle 1’, completed in November 2015, the fund enabled the generation of a total of 2.8MW of renewable energy capacity, replacing a total of 1.5 million litres of imported diesel fuel. The combined output of the projects has saved US$2 million per year and also displaced 4,157 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.