A recent combined mission including officials from the Asian Development Bank, Solomon Islands Government, and Solomon Power to Makira Ulawa Province was satisfied with work progress at the Huro Hybrid Solar Farm near Kirakira.
ADB conducted the mission to verify work conducted so far by Solomon Power which is the implementing agency on the project.
The team also met the Makira Ulawa provincial government to reassure them of the commitment by SIG and ADB to commission the plant soon and also to gather from the provincial government their respective energy needs.
Kirakira is one of the sites out of five other sites in the country under this ADB funded project. The Huro hybrid solar farm is almost 90% complete with only testing and commissioning of the solar plant to deliver renewable energy into the existing Solomon Power grid.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Dr. Chris Vehe said the Kirakira Solar project is expected to improve the current supply of power to Kirakira and surrounding communities using clean renewable energy.
“The most exciting result culminating from this project is that it will significantly reduce reliance on diesel fuel and save cost for Solomon Power,” Vehe said, adding that “the project fulfils the Government’s recently launched renewable energy roadmap that encourages more investment into renewable energy sources in the country”.
The project was initiated after the signing of Grant and Project Agreements between ADB, SIG and Solomon Power in 2017. The project is co-financed through the ADB Strategic Climate Finance Grant of USD6.20 Million for civil works, the ADB special funds resources grant of USD2.24 Million for civil works and consulting services and the SIG and Solomon Power funding of USD 6.76Million for civil works, land acquisition costs, site preparation works and taxes and duties.
ADB’s Solomon Islands Pacific Country Office’s Unit Head Elmar Elbling said ADB is pleased to support the Solomon Islands Government and Solomon Power to make power available to rural communities and at the same time increase the efficiency of commercial activities for rural businesses.
“We are excited that this project is nearing completion and we look forward to its full commissioning and operation to provide stable and cheaper power supply to residents of Kirakira and surrounding communities,” said Mr Elbling.
The objective of the Project is to increase renewable energy generation at existing Solomon Power outstations in Kirakira, Lata, Malu’u, Munda and Tulagi through installations of solar hybrid plants (2MW total solar PV installation) with battery storage to allow high penetration rates of intermittent solar power into the respective grids.
This will enable Solomon Power to generate an increased supply of reliable, cleaner electricity at these respective out-stations. Optimization of battery storage sizing will replace between 66 to 87 percent of diesel generation at each of the five sites.
The project involves converting five of Solomon Power’s out-stations to renewable energy and battery storage generating 3.1GWh of energy per annum, reduce diesel imports by 0.9 million liters and subsequently reduce 804tCO2e emissions per annum as contribution towards the national determined contributions to the UNFCCC Paris Agreement 2015 to reduce GHG emissions.
The Project includes innovative technology in remote monitoring and control of the hybrid-systems and capacity building in operation and maintenance of the systems.