Solar power switches on

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

1,900,000 litres of diesel on average each year for electricity in Samoa will be saved with the completion of the Faleata Racecourse Solar Facility. 

And with the official launch of the 2.1MW solar plant yesterday, the Government of Samoa is one step closer to achieving their goal of 100 percent renewable energy target for Samoa.

Held at the Faleata Racecourse, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Cabinet Ministers and representatives from various government departments, joined Solar for Samoa in celebrating this milestone. 

According to a press release, the completion of the 2.1MW solar plant at the Faleata Racecourse is the first stage of the total 5.2MW solar photovoltaic project. 

The project supports the Samoan Government’s commitment to a 100 percent renewable target by 2017.

Tuilaepa spoke on behalf of the government of Samoa to congratulate Solar for Samoa upon the completion of the project.

“I am very happy that the project is now complete and ready for production,” said Prime Minister Tuila’epa

Tuilaepa said that Solar for Samoa was the first company that the government supported when the push for a 100 percent renewable energy was mooted.

“We gave them our support because we were fascinated with their presentation to Cabinet,” he said.

“Therefore, we were convinced and we gave them our approval.”

Moreover, he highlighted the importance of such a project for Samoa. 

“We have become more dependant and reliant on fossil fuels, but it has also become too costly and it has negative impacts on our environment” he said.

“Therefore, the use of solar energy has become important to mankind due to those side effects of fossil fuels.

“Solar energy is a renewable source of energy as it can be used to produce electricity as long as the sun exists. It does not only benefit individuals’ owners and community but most importantly it can also benefit the environment as well and this is our contribution to our fight against climate change.”

The Director of Solar for Samoa, Terrence Betham thanked the government of Samoa for their support for the initiative. 

“We applaud the Samoan Government and in particular the Prime Minister’s leadership, with support from the relevant Government Ministries including the Electric Power Corporation and the Ministry of Finance, in promoting this project of renewable energy for the Pacific region,” he said. 

“We are proud to achieve this important, clean energy milestone for the Samoan Government, which is the result of a long standing cooperation between Solar for Samoa and the Electric Power Corporation. It demonstrates Solar for Samoa’s ability to complete this world-class facility within the government’s renewable energy target timelines. 

And we are honoured to provide the Samoan population with reliable, long-term renewable energy.”

According to Aaron Hawkins from Solar for Samoa, the total cost of the project is approximately $6 million dollars. 

Press release.

 The 2.1MW (DC) solar plant, located at the Faleata Racecourse on the island of Upolu, will offset a substantial portion of Samoa’s existing diesel-generated electricity; which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of the country’s energy mix. The electricity produced by Solar for Samoa’s project will save 1,900,000 litres of diesel on average each year and displace approximately 5,115 tons of carbon dioxide annually. 

Solar for Samoa believes that utility-scale solar will play an integral role in reducing the country’s reliance on diesel generation and has demonstrated their commitments to ensuring timelines were met in support of the country’s renewable energy targets. 

The electricity from the project will be purchased by the Samoa Electrical Power Corporation under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). According to Mr Betham, the project will not only bring energy security to the Samoan people, but has also contributed significantly to the Samoan economy with over 100 local jobs created during the construction phase.

Solar for Samoa’s second 3.1MW (DC) solar Facility is still under construction adjacent to the Faleolo International Airport and is currently scheduled to come online in mid-2016. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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