25 Nov 2014

ADB behind huge Solar scheme in Cooks

6:52 am on 25 November 2014

The Cook Islands' dependence on fossil fuels should be slashed by a project to build solar-powered plants on six of its islands.

Solar panels that power the lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

The systems are being paid for by the Asian Development Bank, the European Union and the Cook Islands government.

An ADB official, Woo Yul Lee, says lowering the country's reliance on fossil fuels will help free up government funds for other needs while improving national energy security and sustainability.

He says it will help the Cooks fulfill its goal of delivering renewable energy to all its islands by 2020.

The 24 million US dollar project will install systems on the southern islands and give total installed power generation capacity of about 3 megawatts, which should save more than a million litres of diesel fuel.

The project complements ongoing support for solar power in the Cook Islands from New Zealand.