6 Sep 2011

NZ to help fund Tonga solar energy plant

10:15 am on 6 September 2011

The Government has announced nearly $7.9 million in aid funding to help Tonga build a solar energy plant.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the 1 megawatt photovoltaic solar plant will produce about 4% of Tongatapu's annual power use and will offset about 470,000 litres of diesel per year.

The aid involves a public-private partnership with state-owned energy company Meridian Energy, Tonga Power Ltd and the Tongan Government.

Tonga's Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, said the solar plant in Tongatapu will support the government's 10 year plan to reduce reliance on imported fuel for electricity generation.

Construction will begin on the solar plant later this year.