Abu Dhabi: The UAE and New Zealand have signed an arrangement for the development of a jointly funded 1MW solar photovoltaic power plant in the Solomon Islands.

Both countries share a common interest in the rapid deployment of renewable energy in developing countries, particularly in the Pacific region, and signed a renewable energy partnership arrangement in January 2014.

This 1MW power plant 600kW funded by the UAE and 400kW funded by the New Zealand Government through the New Zealand Aid Programme, will be developed by Masdar. It will bring clean, reliable power to the grid in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The power plant will meet 7 per cent of the Solomon Islands’ energy needs and reduce CO2 emissions by over 1,200 tonnes while saving over approximately 450,000 litres of diesel annually.

Dr Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed the arrangement in Abu Dhabi last week with Jeremy Clarke-Watson, Ambassador of New Zealand.

The solar PV plant is part of the United Arab Emirates Pacific Partnership Fund. This $50 million fund was established in 2013 to develop wind and solar projects to support economic and social development across 11 Pacific island nations with projects being delivered by Masdar and funding provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

Of the projects being delivered under the fund, six have already been delivered or are currently under construction. The first completed project was the 512kW solar PV installation in Tonga, while others include the first ever 550kW wind farm for Samoa, three micro-grid solar plants in Fiji that supply clean energy to some of the nation’s outer islands, and solar plants for Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu.

New Zealand has been driving a major push to boost the uptake of renewable energy in the Pacific, and this project is part of a wider $100 million investment in renewable energy across seven Pacific Island countries.