6 May 2011
The Government of Tonga has announced plans to enable the setup of rooftop solar electric systems around the country, as part of on-going efforts by the Tonga Energy Road Map [TERM] to help curb dependence on fossil fuels.
At a special handover event at St Andrew's High School last weekend, the Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano declared an initial target of 150 rooftop PV systems to be installed by the private sector by 2012.
These can produce more than 1 Megawatt of electrical energy per year, or about 5 percent of the country's electricity consumption. Currently, 99 percent of local power is generated from fossil fuels.
"My government is determined to explore every possible channel under TERM, to see that we adhere to the scheduled program of actions adopted by IRENA [International Renewable Energy Agency], so that we are able to achieve the required percentage of fuel reduction by the set timelines," said the Prime Minister.
St Andrew's High School will be given an 8 kilowatt PV solar system as a donation from European solar energy management company ImmoSolar. The project is one of a number of similar programs on TERM's agenda over the next couple of years.
Presenting the donation for ImmoSolar was Raphaël Domjan, initiator of the PlanetSolar project, whose mission to sail around the globe using only solar energy brought the world's largest solar-powered ship for an overnight stop in Tonga last week.
At a special reception hosted for the crew, politicians - including long time MP ‘Akilisi Pohiva - diplomats, local business people and members of the media heard about Government's plans to integrate renewable energy policies as a vital part of Tonga's future.
"It goes without saying, that renewable energy is the way forward, but it is also the answer to our current needs in finding a healthier environment... [Through TERM] we can only look forward to a more prosperous living standard for our people," said the Prime Minister.
The Government of Tonga developed the Tonga Energy Road Map in 2009 with the aim of cutting green house gas emissions and improving national energy security. TERM works by bringing together various donors under a single sector-wide scheme to support renewable energy use through modern, environmentally sustainable ways.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2011. (Photo: Talanoa Langi)