CITIZENS and investors in Honiara stand to benefit from renewable energy project to be funded by United Arab Emirate (UAE) government this year.
The project is part of the $50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, with grant financing from Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau will also benefit from the same funding.
Jefferey Kauha, permanent secretary of Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, said the project is capable of supplying 500 kwp solar photovoltaic to assist Solomon Islands Electricity Authority’s (SIEA) 1.5 megawats.
Mr Kauha said part of the project is to find a developer, building component, role of contracts and make amendment on the SIEA Act.
He said currently SIEA cannot merge with any supplier of electricity because it is restricted under the Act.
“There is plan to amend the Act to accommodate a potential service provider to assist SIEA,” he said.
Mr Kauha said the government has seen the need to allow a new service provider because of high cost of power in the country.
“Customers and industries to drive the economy can’t afford the electricity bill provided by SIEA.
“Therefore government wants to make it cheaper for industries, citizens and investors,” he said.
Mr Kauha said the government is expected to sign the agreement with the UAE around April to commence the project.
As part of strengthening the partnership, Sam Maneka is currently attending the 5th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Maneka joined representatives of more than 150 countries and more than 110 international organisations at the opening on Monday.
He returns on Wednesday.
Solomon Islands is one of the 138 States including the European Union, which are members of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Another 33 countries had applied to be signatories, and their applications were under process as at November 2014.
By EDDIE OSIFELO