by Kiwiana Ngabung – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has partnered with Smart Commercial Solar (SCS) to explore more competitive options for Pacific businesses that are struggling with high energy costs.
The new partnership is focusing on commercial and industrial customers who pay commercial rates for electricity.
The ongoing research targeting interested businesses and organisations requires the completion of a small online survey, before a free energy report is offered, showing the savings a solar system will generate for an organisation.
Smart Commercial Solar CEO, Huon Hoogesteger, said the research has a dual focus; (1) supplying electricity users in the Pacific Islands with information on how to reduce costs and (2) gathering data on the challenges businesses face and what assistance they might need in making the transition to solar.
Generally, energy use in the Pacific is dominated by imported oil. This means costs are exceptionally high for lengthy fuel supply chains. But, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), successful placement and distribution of renewable energy technologies can increase energy and economic security, by significantly reducing or even eliminating the dependence on imported oil.
Tom Jacobs, IFC’s Regional Manager – Pacific, observed that the region lags behind in the use of renewable energy, especially solar power, despite the high cost of electricity.
“The world is moving away from the age of fossil fuels to the age of renewable energy.
“This is a unique paradigm shift that will allow the Pacific Island countries to meet their ambitious renewable energy targets over the next 5-10 years,” Jacobs said.
Feasibility studies recently completed in Vanuatu as part of this project, showed rates of return over 20% and payback periods under four years for grid-tied commercial solar. Grid-tied systems are connected to the utility company’s system and battery storage is not needed.
Jacobs said the aim of the research is to determine the barriers to solar development and increase commercial solar use throughout the Pacific.
The survey is aimed at understanding the challenges for commercial electricity users in the Pacific islands and making the transition to cheaper energy. Businesses or any other commercial users of electricity can take the survey at www.pacificsolarsurvey.com