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Infratec & Sunergise switch on solar in the North West Pacific

1st July 2020

Infratec and Sunergise have completed a NZ$7.3 million, two-year project delivering five renewable energy plants spanning four Pacific nations — Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.

The project represents a significant step forward in improving energy sustainability and supply resilience for the four countries, which currently rely heavily on expensive and polluting diesel fuel for energy generation.

The project is set to save 750,000 litres of diesel fuel per year, equivalent to 2000 tonnes of CO2 each year (or 19 acres of native New Zealand forest).

Joint venture partners, Sunergise and Infratec commenced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) contract in June 2018, with grant funding from the NZ Aid Programme and the European Development Fund. As of 31st March 2020 all five sites are fully operational.

The JV partners installed 1.7MWp of solar PV systems (or 4,888 panels) across five sites, ranging from a 1.1MW solar farm in Nauru, to a 65kWp/165Wh solar+battery mini-grid in the village in Kayangel, Palau.

Sunergise CEO, Paul Makumbe says, “The Pacific Islands are at the frontline of climate change. Each of these Pacific nations have ambitious renewable energy targets, and Sunergise is proud that our installation of these solar projects are already contributing significantly to their goals. The project stays true to our mission to bring solar sooner to New Zealand and the Pacific.”

Infratec CEO, Greg Visser adds, “This is exactly the type of work we love to do – playing a direct role in supporting Pacific Islands’ decarbonisation as well as creating positive impacts in local communities as we do it. We are proud to have provided employment for 50 locals, teaching new construction skills and providing training to operate and maintain their own power plants. At the Nauru PV site, we also installed an innovative water catchment system to help water scarcity issues, and carried out educational workshops in Kayangel, Palau.”

The North West Pacific and Nauru solar project is New Zealand’s first renewable energy project in Micronesia. Following undertakings made at the 2016 Pacific Island Forum, the initiative is part of New Zealand’s commitment to our Pacific neighbours.