- Tonga has started construction on the island nation's first off-grid solar power plant
- It plans to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy to 210 homes and 740 people on the country’s most remote island of Niuatoputapu
- The project follows completion of on-grid solar power plants and network upgrades on the islands of Ha’apai and ’Eua
- ADB is financing the plant along with the governments of Tonga, Australia, GEF, EU and the Second Danish Cooperation Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Rural Areas
The Pacific Island of Tonga has broken ground on its first off-grid solar power plant and distribution network for the country’s most remote island of Niuatoputapu. The project will help provide access to clean energy to 740 people on the island, said Poasi Mataele Tei, Tonga’s Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change and Communications.
The new solar mini-grid will connect 210 homes on the island with prepaid meters and follows the completion of on-grid solar plants and network upgrades on the islands of Ha’apai and ’Eua.
Financing for the plant comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under its Outer Islands Renewable Energy Project, through which the bank is helping Tonga construct grid-connected solar PV plants with a total capacity of 1.25 MW on 9 outer islands of the country. It is also assisting Tonga Power Limited with training to operate and maintain renewable energy technologies.
Other financing partners for the off-grid solar power plant in Tonga are the governments of Australia, Tonga, European Union (EU), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Second Danish Cooperation Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Rural Areas.
In March 2019, ADB approved a $12.2 million grant for the Renewable Energy Project in Tonga under the aegis of its Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility that supports such projects in 11 Pacific Island nations (see $44.6mn Grant For Renewable Energy In Tonga).