A New Zealand engineering company BECA is to have the lead role in installing solar power systems in the northern Cook Islands.
Manihiki, Rakahanga, Penrhyn, Pukapuka, Nassau and Palmerston are aiming to be almost 100 percent reliant on solar energy by the end of next year with all the country on full renewable energy by 2020.
The Cook Islands energy commissioner, Roger de Bray, says Beca got the job after New Zealand agreed to fully fund the project under a manager appointed by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr de Bray says Beca is now looking to appoint a primary contractor before Christmas and four international firms have been shortlisted for the job.
He says once the solar systems are in place the northern islanders should only need to turn on their diesel generators for 50 to 60 hours each year.