New Zealand High Commission Rarotonga, Cook Islands

“Te Mana o te Ra” Solar Power Project

from left to right: New Zealand High Commissioner HE Joanna Kempkers, Senior Development Programme Coordinator Steven Barrett, Infratec site manager Tony Scott, Senior Development Programme Coordinator Sean Buckley, and New Zealand Aid Programme Manager Joseph Mayhew

The New Zealand High Commission’s Development Team visited the Te Mana o te Ra (“Power from the Sun”) solar power project at Rarotonga International Airport this morning.

The development of the solar photovoltaic site is now well under way, and on track for completion in October. The 960kWp system is made up of 3054 individual solar modules (panels) and will generate approximately 1,400,000 kWh annually, which is around 5% of Rarotonga’s total electricity consumption. This will save the Cook Islands Government around 400,000 litres of diesel and $550,000 per year, with the avoidance of 1,250 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The project involves civil works such as trenching and the setting of concrete foundations, construction of solar array frames that will support 3054 solar panels, extensive electrical cabling that will connect the solar arrays to inverters (to convert from DC power to AC power), and a single transformer that will increase the system voltage to connect the into the local grid.

The project is being led by New Zealand Company Infratec Renewables Ltd, but the civil engineering and electrical work is being carried out by Cook Island sub-contractors. New Zealand has invested $3.3 million into the Te Mana as part of the European Union and New Zealand Energy Access Partnership.
 

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