More cost effective solar projects will be rolled out across the Pacific thanks to a new partnership between leading New Zealand technology companies solarcity and Panasonic, supported by global technology company, ABB.
The partnership will primarily target large scale State-of-the-Art solar projects in the Pacific Islands, to reduce Pacific Island nation’s dependency on fossil fuels for power generation and desalination. solarcity NZ CEO Andrew Booth says the two companies will be launching their initiative, alongside ABB, at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland next week, to show how a high quality model of collaboration can help the Pacific Island countries realise their energy plans.
“Retail electricity in some remote Pacific Islands is more than seven times more expensive than it is in New Zealand,” says Booth, “By switching to solar, many nations in the Pacific can significantly reduce pressure on their balance of payments and generate new clean technology jobs and skills.
“The power of a group approach allows us to use our global engineering and technical expertise to help lead the development of solar industry across the Pacific,” he says. “Solar power is one of the fastest growing sources of energy in the Pacific, as demand grows for energy security and independence, driving governments to develop reliable renewable power sources.
“Many Pacific Island countries are still close to 100% dependent on fossil fuels for power generation,” he says. “Being dependent on fossil fuels sees these countries exposed to volatile power prices, locking them into dependence on carbon based fuels, which are driving climate change. In the Cook Islands, for example, imported fuels account for nearly 30% of GDP and the government there is looking to raise over $200m at next week’s Summit to help fund their switch to solar and other alternative forms of power generation.”
Panasonic NZ Managing Director Stewart Fowler says the current project sees Panasonic’s world beating HIT solar panel being used in Nauru for the first time.
“Panasonic’s HIT panels lead the industry, by being 25% more efficient and offering a conversion rate higher than any other panels, producing around 10% more power per watt,” says Fowler. “Given the specific climate and technical requirements of the Pacific it is vital that governments and aid agencies work with the world’s best engineering teams to maximise the performance and return on the investments they are making.”
As well the Pacific Islands, SolarCity and Panasonic are working together on projects in New Zealand, where annual power prices have surged at twice the rate of nearly every other developed country over the past 30 years and distributed generation is becoming increasingly economic.