18 Jun 2012

Tokelau's solar project on track

5:14 am on 18 June 2012

Tokelau is on track to becoming the first nation to be powered completely off solar energy this year.

Powersmart Solar, the lead contractor for the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, is replacing all diesel electricity systems with solar power systems and battery storage.

Presently, the diesel generators burn around 200 litres of fuel daily and provide only 15-18 hours of electricity a day.

Powersmart Solar's Mike Bassett Smith says Tokelau is expected to be 100 percent powered by solar energy by the end of September this year.

He says the locals have really gotten behind the project.

"The community buy in has been immense and we've had to organise plenty of community labour to do this sort of work. Clearing the land was a fairly difficult thing, the availability of local labour and machinery is very important to be able to do this sort of work."

Mike Bassett Smith says they have also ensured Tokelau will continue to get technical support in running the solar power systems once the project is completed and they have left the islands.