13 Aug 2012

First public solar panel switched on in Tokelau

5:11 am on 13 August 2012

Residents on the Tokelau atoll of Fakaofo are already noticing the effects of the switch to solar energy, as the territory moves towards its goal of a full reliance on renewable energy.

The first solar-ray panel of the multi million dollar project began running on Fakaofo on Thursday last week.

The senior advisor with Tokelau's Economic Development Department, and a Fakaofo resident, Tofiga Teao, says residents are already noticing the difference.

"No power shut during the day, no during work hours, or at all. We got told not to use too many power plants (connections), and now we can use as many as we want. Things like, in the morning, we get up in the morning and we have to boil the jug first and then after that, then we use the microwave. Now, we can use the jug and the microwave at the same time."

The more than five million US dollar project, which is funded by the New Zealand aid programme, now moves to Nukunonu and Atafu and is expected to be completed by early November.