24 Apr 2014

Largest solar-power array in the Pacific to be built by September

8:09 am on 24 April 2014

Officials in Samoa say the largest solar-power array in the Pacific should be built in time for September's Small Islands Developing States conference.

The country is turning to solar, wind and hydro energy as a way to cut back on its heavy reliance on diesel fuel.

New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully, has allocated $14 million NZ dollars to the project, going thirds with other donors.

The project manager, Fonoti Perelini Perelini, says the 10,000 panels in the middle of a racecourse in Apia should last 20 years if they are maintained well, and it's part of wider measures to cut back on diesel reliance.

"Seventy percent of electricity is generated from diesel right now, and that's the focus, is to replace that. We have quite a lot of schemes, including the solar, the new hyrdos that we're building. We also have wind, long term plan we're looking at probably in another 5 or 6 years, 90 percent will be renewable."

Fonoti Perelini Perelini.