Solar Power System Installed At Tongan Police Headquarters

Country targets 50% renewable energy generation by 2020

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 28, 2016) – A 225kWh Tonga Police Solar System constructed with NZD$1.2 million  [US$875,000] jointly funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand under a Tonga Police Development Program was commissioned today, Wednesday 28 September, at Longolongo.

The solar roof and ground mounted system complete with a 180kWh battery storage at the Police headquarters, is a partnership between Tonga Police and Tonga Power Ltd, on a three-year pilot program.

This arrangement will feed solar electricity from the new system into the Tonga Power grid and reduce the cost of electricity to Tonga Police. The system can generate 225kWh of renewable energy and the facility is expected to provide excess capacity which can be saved at the battery storage bank to offset the energy needs of Tonga Police stations, during peak times.

Tonga Power Ltd.'s CEO Robert Matthews said the pilot program hoped to set a benchmark for future expansion of a national solar photo-voltaic distributive energy program that aims to feed energy harvested from the sun into the power grid.

“This program will see a dual tariff in place with Tonga Police to encourage exporting of electricity from the 180kWh of battery storage onto the Tonga Power grid during peak demand.”

He said the program was designed in mind that it had to provide a sufficient solar energy to offset the energy needs to Tonga Police stations and that the facility was selectively oversized to provide excess capacity with battery storage, among other things.

“This is an exciting project and I believe sets an excellent example and a significant leap towards the development of renewable energy forms of electricity generation in Tonga, which will hopefully encourage others to consider a similar approach to develop renewable energy projects in the future.”

Target

Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni unveiled a plaque at the site and said this project would enhance the operational capacity of Tonga Police through access to a reliable source of electricity, reduce operation costs and contribute to Government’s efforts to reach 50% renewable energy by 2020.

This project had also seen the development and implementation of other solar power systems at police stations in Mu’a, Vaini, Nukunuku and now this oversized roof and ground-mounted system at Longolongo, he said.

He thanked the Minister of Police Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell and the Australian and NZ Governments for their continuing support to the Tonga Police Development Program.

Police Commissioner Caldwell said the 225kWh system will not only enhance the operational capacity of Tonga Police through access to reliable source of electricity 24-hrs daily, seven-days a week but more importantly perhaps, it will also aid the Tongan Government’s priority to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuel through the use of renewable energy.

“Importantly systems and procedures are being established to ensure the long term sustainability of this system by Tonga Police without future financial impost on the Tongan Government or donors. It will ensure the ongoing financial sustainability of the system itself and the Tonga Police Development Program.”

The New Zealand High Commissioner HE Sarah Walsh and Australian Acting High Commissioner Sophie Tempy who were present noted in their speeches their Governments' support to the Tongan Government's target to have 50% renewable energy by 2020. 

The 225kWh system can generate power roughly equivalent to approximately 80,000 liters of diesel per annum.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2016 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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