17 Sep 2012

Solar panels let Tongan school power up computers

1:28 pm on 17 September 2012

A Tongan school says it can now afford to use computers after the installation of solar panels by the University of Canterbury.

Engineering students designed and installed solar panels on five high schools in Tonga under a renewable energy project funded by New Zealand aid.

Takuilau High School says the solar panels cut more than 300 US dollars from its power bill in the first month.

The principal, Sister Fe'ao Kautai, says the best thing is they now get reliable use of the school's computers and wireless internet.

"Whe the electricity runs out we stop using the computer. But when the solar panel is connected it makes a big difference, permitting emails and finding resources for our students. Very very important."

Sister Fe'ao says they're eagerly awaiting the next step, which is a solar-powered wireless intranet to link the five schools.