24 Sep 2016

New solar array to cut Kiribati fossil fuel bill by $290K

9:24 am on 24 September 2016

A World Bank project involving large scale solar panels which was launched in Tarawa on Friday is expected to save the Kiribati government $US290,000 in fuel bills.

In a statement, the bank says this is the equivalent of 230,000 litres less diesel used per year, reducing the countries already negligible greenhouse gas emissions by 765 tons per year.

At peak capacity the large scale solar panels installed at four government owned facilties can generate 548 kilowatts of power, about the same as 5,480 standard light bulbs.

This will be fed directly into the South Tarawa electricity grid helping to power schools, hospitals and other public buildings.

The Kiribati capital and most populated area, South Tarawa, consists of several islets, connected by a series of causeways.

South Tarawa will benefit directly from the new solar project Photo: Supplied

Speaking at the launch, Kiribati Vice President Korabi Nenem said as a nation profoundly affected by the impacts of climate change it was important for Kiribati to practice what it preached and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

In 2008 greenhouse gas emissions from Kiribati were 29.3 thousand metric tonnes. In contrast 6983 million metric tonnes were generated by the US in the same year.

Ending in 2018, the Kiribati Grid Connected Solar PV Project is coordinated by the World Bank and funded through a US$1 million grant from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and a US$2.92 million grant from the Government of Australia, through the Pacific Regional Infrastructure Facility (PRIF).