By EDDIE OSIFELO
ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) has supported Solar Development Project in five provinces in the country.
Elmir Elbling, Unit Head of ADB Solomon Islands Pacific Country Office in Honiara, confirmed this when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament.
PAC is scrutinising the 2021 National Budget of $3.9 billion.
Elbling said solar panels are established in Munda (Western province), Kirakira (Makira Ulawa), Malu’u (Malaita), Tulagi (Central Islands) and Lata (Temotu province).
According to ADB press release, the financing support for these five projects was approved in 2016.
The project was funded by a $2.24 million grant from ADB, $6.2 million grant from the Strategic Climate Fund, and $6.76 million from the Solomon Islands government.
The project was the first solar power project in Solomon Islands to install battery storage, which allow electricity to be stored from the sun during the day to power the provincial towns at night.
The project reduces the need for costly shipments of diesel to the provincial centers.
It install about 2 megawatt of solar power generation capacity, which consist of ground mounted rows of solar panels within or near the townships of Kirakira, Lata, Malu’u, Munda, and Tulagi.
The project is part of a broader program by Solomon Power to expand electricity access to rural communities through renewable energy-based grids.
The modular structure of solar power plants makes them suitable for future expansion to accommodate growing demand.
The project design includes oversized sites and connection equipment for future expansion, and Solomon Power staff training on solar plant operation and maintenance.
ADB has been supporting Solomon Islands since 1973 and has committed $174.4 million in loans, $219.0 million in grants, and $32.3 million in technical assistance. Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Solomon Islands amount to $169.1 million.