solarcity and Infratec Renewables today announced that they have been awarded a $780k contract to build a total of 170kW of solar photovoltaic arrays across two Government owned buildings in Funafuti, Tuvalu.
The project which commences construction this week will deliver 5% of the island's energy requirements and will lead to the reduction in 62,000 litres of diesel imports every year saving the nation over $2 million across the lifetime of the system.
"Diesel generators are the main source of electricity generation for Tuvalu which leaves them vulnerable to global fuel price changes and often means they pay four times more for power than New Zealand," said Peter Apperley, Commercial Solar Director for solarcity. "We are proud to have been selected by the governments of Tuvalu and New Zealand to deliver this important solar project for the region to help combat these high prices and climate change."
When complete, the arrays are expected to:
- Generate up to 239 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy per year, which will reduce diesel imports by 62,000 litres annually saving the nation about $2 million over the lifetime of the system;
- Avoid producing more than 185 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year; and
- Provide 5 percent of the island's total electric needs.
"We feel privileged to be playing a key role in assisting Tuvalu to achieve their goal of being 100 per cent renewable by 2020," said Micah Sherman, Project Manager of Infratec Renewables. "This is solarcity's and Infratec's second large scale project across the Pacific in the last 12 months having recently successfully completed our 960kW solar farm on Rarotonga."
This energy initiative in Tuvalu is part of a wider programme of sustainable energy across the Pacific that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFA) is supporting through the New Zealand Aid Programme. MFAT and the Government of Tuvalu welcomed the commencement of the project.
New Zealand is working in partnership with the Government of Tuvalu to provide "efficient, reliable, safe, affordable, sustainable electricity supply for Tuvalu" said Acting Deputy Director, Mike Schruer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.