World / Asia-Pacific

New Zealand develops solar power to cut diesel burning

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-13 17:12

WELLINGTON - A New Zealand-funded solar energy scheme in the Cook Islands will help to wean the Pacific island nation of fossil fuels, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Wednesday.

"The new solar arrays will provide over 95 percent of the electricity needs for the villages they connect to, and deliver power to more than 230 homes and public buildings," McCully said in a statement.

The completion of the projects marked the final stage of a project costing 20.5 million NZ dollars ($15.17 million) to expand solar energy in the Cook Islands.

Solar arrays had already been developed on the islands of Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau, and Palmerston.

"Together these projects will save approximately 230,000 liters of imported diesel per year, and free up Cook Island government funds for other development priorities," said McCully.

The project is one of more than 50 major energy developments with a total investment of 100 million NZ dollars ($74.01 million) aimed at moving the Pacific closer towards a goal of 50 percent renewable electricity following the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland.

New Zealand is funding renewable energy projects in the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu.

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