Samoa Opens First Grid Connected Solar Power System

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

News Release

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Suva, Fiji

April 18, 2014

Samoa, the first country to access the Pacific Environment Community or PEC Fund since its inception in 2010 is finally having their first solar photovoltaic grid system commissioned for use in Salelologa, Savai’i.

The formal commissioning ceremony co-hosted by the Government of Samoa and Electric Power Corporation took place last week and was attended by Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, and senior government officials.

The installation of Samoa’s 546kWp solar PV grid-connected system is expected to provide significant benefits to the government of Samoa by reducing the use of diesel by around 190,000 liters p.a and realizing costs savings of approximately SAT570,000 per annum in a country which generates 60 percent of its electricity from diesel.

The project expected to last more than 20 years is spread out over 3 sites in the country’s main islands, Upolu and Savai’i.

"Today, we are opening Samoa’s first solar system, without storage, that can be connected to the grid, to run in parallel with other energy sources like diesel generators. The original combined capacity of this project is 40kWp. But we are fortunate to increase it to 546kWp through good design and project management," said Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi at the official commissioning.

He acknowledged development partners for their continuous support to the development of their country.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan to provide 6.8 billion yen (approximately $66 million) to Forum Island Countries to tackle environmental issues. Each FIC is provided with an indicative allocation of $4million to support projects with a focus on the provision of solar power generation systems and seawater desalination plants or a combination of both. The fund is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

To date, the governments of Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, Republic of Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands and Vanuatu have successfully accessed the PEC Fund for national renewable energy and seawater desalination projects.

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