Australian company building 500kW solar hybrid plant in Tonga

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Ingenero begins construction of 500kW solar hybrid plant in Tonga island of Vava’u. It will provide up to 70 per cent of daytime peak load.

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Australian solar firm Ingenero has begun construction of a 500kW solar PV project with battery storage that will account for around 13 per cent of the electricity demand on the Tonga island of Vava’u.

The first solar panels are already in place (see photo) on the project, which will reduce diesel consumption by up to 70 per cent during the day-time peaks.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 1.34.18 PMAccording to Ingenero head of generation Roger Whitby, this will represent one of the highest penetrations of solar to diesel for a hybrid solar farm anywhere in the world.

“It will also form an important reference site for similar opportunities in the Pacific and remote Australian mine sites that run on diesel generators,” he said in a statement.

Tonga switched on its first solar plant in July last year – 1MW plant on the main island of Tongatapu, and is intent on rolling out more solar projects to offset the crippling cost of diesel.

The island nation consumes about 30 million litres of diesel a year for electricity.

The company aims to have 50 per cent of its electricity sourced from solar, wind and biomass by 2018. The Tongatapu plant has already allowed the government to lower the price of electricity to consumers, and the savings from avoided diesel costs will dwarf the upfront cost of the solar plants.

The Vava’u project is being developed by Abu Dhabi based renewable energy company Masdar, and is financed through a $5 million grant provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. It is due to be completed by the end of the year.

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  1. patb2009 6 years ago

    why didn’t they mount these panels on the buildings we see in the background? The real opportunity for solar is lots of use of existing structure.

    • Catprog 6 years ago

      probably because the buildings are too small.

  2. Moni Lolomana'ia 2 years ago

    I am looking at setting up a off grid system in Eua Tonga and asking is it cheaper to buy in Tonga or to buy it in Australia and send it there?

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