Chinese Investor To Build $4.4 Million Solar Generation Facility In Tonga

Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology has long-term energy purchase deal with Tonga Power Ltd.

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Dec. 6, 2016) – Queen Nanasipau'u officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony today for the construction of a new 2 MW solar farm at Matatoa, Tofoa – the largest to be built in Tonga.

The privately-funded $10 million pa'anga [US$4.4 million] development by Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology Ltd. from Guangdong, China, is expected to be completed by June 2017. Their investment in Tonga solar power generation is based on a long-term agreement with Tonga Power Ltd. as customer.

Tonga Power Ltd. CEO Robert Matthews said the solar facility is being constructed by Singyes, an Independent Power Producer, who had signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with TPL in September.

Based on the agreement, Singyes will sell all output power from the farm to Tonga Power network at a fixed rate for the next 25 years.

He said this agreement would help to move Tonga toward achieving its 50% renewable energy target by 2020.

“We continue to welcome the opportunity to support the Government in their mission and the strategic direction of lower electricity tariffs for the nation. By engaging an Independent power producer like Zhuhai Singyes, it enables the energy sector to achieve its energy efficiency goals and utilize third party investments on clean electricity generation, which can be tailored as a template for similar agreements in the future,” he said.

In addition, Tonga Power is marking the start of the work to add another 2 MW of solar energy to the Maama Mai and Mata ‘o e La’a solar facilities that are currently operated and maintained by Tonga Power. 

Petrol

The Minister for Public Enterprises Hon Poasi Tei said Government meant business when they said 50% renewable energy by 2020, and reiterated that petroleum dependency makes Tonga highly vulnerable to oil price changes and shocks, which in turn affects our ability to afford food, goods, electricity, and transport.

“More than 91% of our overall grid-connected electricity demand is supplied by generators fueled by imported diesel. In addition, an estimated 13 million liters of diesel is consumed to generate this electricity at a cost that is about 10% of our gross domestic product and about 15% of the total value of imports.

“Peak demand is expected to increase to 17.2 megawatts by 2020.”

He said it is clear that progress towards their goal of generating 50% of grid-based electricity from renewable energy sources and achieving a 50% reduction in diesel consumption by 2020 is more than just a feel good statement that attracts regional and international acclaim.

“It is a firm declaration of Tonga’s intent and a core part of the Government’s strategy to guard against oil price volatility and to take the necessary steps to improve the reliability of power supply to our people.”

Outer Islands

Tonga Power Ltd is building a new 550 KW solar plant with large storage devices on Ha’apai. When completed, renewable energy penetration on Ha’apai will increase from 20% to 50%. 

“Similarly, a 200 KW solar plant is to be built on the island of ‘Eua. There are other renewable energy projects in the pipeline, including the one we are here to commemorate today, which should give us much confidence for the future,” he said.

Investment

Deputy CEO Mr Sam Leung said Singyes Solar is a worldwide solar energy provider that has built and delivered more than 1.5GW solar projects all over the world.

The Chinese Ambasasdor HE Mr Huang Huaguang said this is the biggest solar farm project in Tonga with investment by the Singyes Company, which will raise the proportion of clean energy in Tonga, and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

“This project symbolizes a Chinese company’s active participation in Tonga’s economic and social development through investment,” he said.

The solar farm is being constructed on an estate belonging to King Tupou VI.

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

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment