Solomon Islands depends on expensive imported fossil fuel generated electricity to which less than 20% of the population has access. A World Bank supported project strives to reduce this fossil fuel dependence and improve grid connected renewable energy expansion. (Photo Credit: Aleta Moriarty/World Bank)
- A $19.95 million in financing has been announced by the World Bank Group for the implementation of a renewable energy and electricity access project in the Solomon Islands
- The project will deliver renewable energy hybrid mini-grids, provide electricity connections in low-income areas and new grid-connected solar power
- Households, small businesses, community infrastructure as schools and health centres throughout capital Honiara and surrounding towns will benefit from the project
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The World Bank has approved funding to improve renewable energy generation in Solomon Islands. The $19.95 million in financing will support the implementation of a project called ‘Electricity Access and Renewable Energy Expansion Project’.
Through the project, the government will be able to invest in renewable energy hybrid mini-grids, provide electricity connections in low-income areas and new grid-connected solar power. The project will serve households, small businesses, community infrastructure as schools and health centres throughout capital Honiara and surrounding towns.
Of the total funding, $5.55 million will be a credit and $4.75 million will come as a grant from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). Other grants are provided by the Strategic Climate Fund-Scaling-up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries program ($7.1 million), Global Environment Facility ($946,750) and the Small Island Developing States Initiative ($1.6 million).
Solomon Islands relies on imported fossil fuels for its electricity supply. Less than 20% of the population has access to it and even that is costly and unreliable. With renewable energy powering its grid, the World Bank believes, Solomon Islands will be able to promote the growth of its economy and help address gender imbalance in the energy sector. Rural women can be trained to maintain solar panels and sites, thereby generating employment for this segment.
The Bank is also seeking to provide a social impact in the country through the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which will support the islands to building a productive and respectful workplace culture by strengthening anti-bullying and harassment policies.
“The cost of electricity in Solomon Islands is among the highest in the world – almost double the average for the Pacific Islands region as a whole – placing a massive financial burden on families and businesses across the country,” said Michel Kerf, country director for Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands. “We are proud to be working to support the government as it works to increase access to electricity, while reducing reliance on polluting fuels and boosting renewable energy.”