Reaching for the Sun: Unlocking Solar Energy for Samoa
Samoa, like many developing small island countries, is heavily dependent on fossil fuel for power generation; almost 70% of its energy comes from petroleum products. But these costly fuels expose the country to the unpredictable price of petrol imports and produce large quantities of carbon emissions. Now, Samoa is reaching for the sun with three new solar energy systems. Supplying renewable power to eight hundred homes, these will help to reduce the country’s annual fuel consumption by some 190,000 litres, saving over US$250,000 and cutting more than 400 tonnes CO2 of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The three new solar energy systems have a combined capacity of 546kW and are located on the two main islands of Upolu and Savaii. They were made possible through a generous US$4 million in grants from the Government of Japan, one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, via the Pacific Environment Community fund. This investment, in turn, was unlocked through a feasibility study funded by the Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy Project (PIGGAREP): a project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and backed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
“The feasibility study funded by PIGGAREP gave Japan the necessary data to move forward with the funding and construction of the solar systems in Samoa,” said Tetsuji Nakasone, project formulation advisor for the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Samoa. “We are very pleased to see how well the systems on Upolu and Savaii are functioning. In cooperation with other development partners, we will continue our engagement in the area of renewable energy in Samoa and other Pacific Island countries."