9 Jun 2014

NZ funds solar power for Tuvalu and the Cooks

11:43 am on 9 June 2014

Construction is to start in September on solar generation systems in Tuvalu and the Cook islands which are expected to meet 95 percent of the islands' electricity needs.

The US$28 million project is funded by the New Zealand government.

Richard Cullwick of PowerShop, the New Zealand-based company in charge of the project, says six islands in the Cooks and four islands in Tuvalu will get the new solar power systems.

He says all of the islands are reliant on diesel for generating power, and switching to solar makes environmental and economic sense.

Mr Cullwick says the islands' residents will be trained to run the solar systems.

"We will be working with locals where we can. That's both in the construction and also in the ongoing looking after it. The teams also do train locals and how the systems run, what they need to do, how they need to keep them running to their optimal performance."

Richard Cullwick says construction is expected to be completed in early 2015.