UAE, New Zealand to build solar plant in Solomon Islands

Power plant will see 600kW funded by the UAE and 400kW by New Zealand

PHOTO: The new solar plant is set to reduce the Solomon Islands’ dependency on imported diesel, freeing up resources for other developmental projects. Credit: Shutterstock

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

The power plant – which will see 600kW funded by the UAE and 400kW by the New Zealand government – will be developed by Masdar. The plant is set to meet 7% of the Solomon Islands’ energy needs, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by over 1,200 tons while saving about 450,000 litres of diesel annually.

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, signed the arrangement in Abu Dhabi last week with Jeremy Clarke-Watson, ambassador of New Zealand.

The new project will reduce the Solomon Islands’ dependency on imported diesel, freeing up financial resources for other developmental projects, Al Zeyoudi noted.

The UAE and New Zealand signed a renewable energy partnership arrangement in January last year. Both nations “share a common interest in the rapid deployment of renewable energy in developing countries, particularly in the Pacific region,” WAM reported.

The upcoming solar plant in the Solomon Islands is part of the $50 million UAE Pacific Partnership Fund. The fund was established in 2013 to develop wind and solar projects across 11 Pacific island nations, with projects being delivered by Masdar and funding provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

Six of the projects under the fund have already been delivered or are currently under construction, it was reported.

The first completed project was a 512 kW solar PV plant in Tonga. Others include a 550 kW wind farm for Samoa, three micro-grid solar plants in Fiji, and solar plants for Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu.

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

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