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Fiji plans ‘Pacific’s largest solar project’

State-owned utility Energy Fiji Ltd is ready to start the search for a private sector partner to develop “the largest solar project of its kind in the Pacific to date” after signing a financing agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

A press release issued by the IFC, the private sector arm of multilateral development lender the World Bank, revealed plans for a US$15 million solar project to install at least 15 MW of generation capacity connected to the Energy Fiji grid which supplies 90% of the nation’s population.

The IFC said the solar capacity could supply up to 14,000 households and stated an intent to examine the renewables potential of the nation’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.

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With the authorities in Suva targeting a fully renewables-powered energy system in 2030, the solar project is being backed by the governments of Australia and New Zealand – through the Fiji Partnership – and of Denmark.

The IFC said Fiji currently generates half its electricity from hydropower plants – identified on the Energy Fiji website as 80 MW and 40 MW facilities on Viti Levu; 45% from fossil fuel imports which contributed around a fifth, or FJ$1.17 billion (US$550 million), of the nation’s total imports bill last year; and 5% from biomass and wind plants. Energy Fiji says its 237 MW generation portfolio includes 112 MW of diesel facilities at 14 locations. The nation has a total generation capacity of 267 MW, according to the IFC.

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Source: pv magazine