Prime Minister of Tonga today announced the official launch of the 6-MW power purchase agreement (PPA) based Tongatapu Solar Farm located at Fualu, Tongatapu, which has supplied electricity to over 10,336 households since August this year. It is reportedly the largest solar power project in the South Pacific, replacing 18% of current diesel-fueled power with solar energy on the Tongatapu island.
This solar project was completed under the partnership between Sunergise New Zealand Limited and Tonga Power Limited with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Sunergise led the construction and meanwhile united local Tongan civil, mechanical and electrical sub-contractors to the team. Under the supervision of Sunergise's engineering subsidiary Clay Energy, local workers contributed to the project and also obtained extensive experience in large-scale solar project development.
Statistics show that, as of 2020, nearly all electricity in Tonga came from fossil fuels. As an island country with a total surface area of merely 290 sq mi, Tongan's power generation heavily relies on imported fossil fuels. Renewables like solar are a significant means for Tonga to expand energy access, stabilize power grids as well as reduce pollution.
Considering the shortage of solar expertise and finances for countries like Togan, the role of independent power producers and the practice of PPA provide solid support to smooth the way for solar deployment.
As Hu'akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga said at the ceremony: "The successful completion of the Sunergise's 6MW Independent Power Producer solar generation system today, demonstrates the major role renewable energy independent power producers play towards achieving our 70% target by [the] end of [the] year 2025."
Sunergise is now a Todd Corporation company. It is a solar project developer and operator with a long history in the Pacific, having delivered over 20-MW solar capacity in New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and other South Pacific countries.