17 Sep 2012

Tongan high schools benefit from NZ designed solar panels

11:06 am on 17 September 2012

Five Tongan high schools are running on sunlight after receiving solar panels designed and installed by engineering students from New Zealand's University of Canterbury.

The more 290 thousand US dollar renewable energy project is funded by New Zealand aid and aims to make it affordable for the schools to use computers.

A Canterbury University engineering professor, Pat Bodger, says the solar panels should save more than 4 thousand US dollars a year in combined power costs for the five schools.

"It defers a certain amount of diesel generation from the local supplier but from a schools point of view it's really saving them quite a lot of money they can spend elsewhere on their education."

Pat Bodger says the ultimate goal is to install solar power systems in all 36 Tongan schools on 21 different islands.