Solar power trial takes off in Moresby

THE first trial of rooftop solar power to be fed into Papua New Guinea’s power utility, PNG Power, was launched in Port Moresby last week.
Solar power trial takes off in Moresby Solar power trial takes off in Moresby Solar power trial takes off in Moresby Solar power trial takes off in Moresby Solar power trial takes off in Moresby

Staff Reporter

PNG Power is behind the initiative, with support  from the International Finance Corporation and donor support from Australia and New Zealand.
The initiative is open to commercial and industrial businesses in Port Moresby which can apply to have the panels installed.
It is expected that the trial has the potential to produce about 2% of peak demand in Port Moresby, simply generated from rooftop solar panels.
PNG Power chief executive officer Douglas Mageo said solar photo-voltaic systems had the potential to reduce the cost of power supply in Papua New Guinea and reduce carbon emissions through less reliance on diesel.
With PNG aiming to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, the pilot scheme would serve as a test run so that PNG Power could manage the technical and commercial impacts on its systems, Mageo said.
"Port Moresby is one of the sunniest locations in Papua New Guinea, with about 2500 hours of sunshine a year," said IFC's PNG representative John Vivian.
"With Papua New Guinea one of the most expensive places in the world for power, it makes sense to use rooftop solar to generate electricity to help meet energy needs and the country's renewable energy targets."
The Post Courier reported that the IFC had been supporting PNG Power to develop the scheme and before the launch of the trial, IFC supported a training program for PNG Power staff on managing the rooftop solar scheme, with further training planned for the future.
The pilot program deals specifically with solar photo-voltaic systems that are synchronised to PNG Power's grid and can meet consumer demand when required.
Lighting PNG has already helped 22% of the population - 1.8 million people - in PNG gain access to phone charging and basic solar lighting solutions for the first time.
PNG Power and IFC are also joining forces to deliver lower cost and more reliable power to remote and outer island centres, not connected to the country's two main electricity grids, the Post Courier reported.
With only about 13% of Papua New Guineans currently having access to an electricity grid, PNG presents one of the most challenging energy markets in the world.