Tuvalu is in the process of massively overhauling its power Generation to incorporate primarily solar power, as well as some wind and biodiesel.
The Tuvalu government is well aware of the effects of climate change, as well as the benefits to increasing self-sufficiency and reducing power costs. With a population of 12,000 renewable energy can make a big impact in a small time.
Tuvaluís highest part is only 4.5 meters above sea level, making it the second lowest island on earth, slightly above the Maldives. This makes the chain of islands particularly vulnerable to climate change. Over the last few years, seawaters have been rising on the islands shores, damaging crops and endangering homes of many of the residents. Tuvalu wants to do its part in combating greenhouse gas emissions by adopting sustainable energy products.
Another key factor motivating the nationís shift to solar is the unsteadiness of oil prices, as Tuvalu has historically relied on imported fuel for diesel power electrical generation. Investing in solar PV & Thermal, wind and other renewable energy will help reduce the islandís reliance on foreign imports, as well as reduce overall energy costs.
Tuvaluís commitment to solar has resulted in the island lowering consumption of generator fuel by approximately 17,000 liters in its first 14 months of operation.
Electricity rates are extremely high in island nations, which make the return on investment really quick.
Due to the nationís small size, the estimated total cost of converting the power generation to rely exclusively on renewable energy will come to only $20 million. The project is being handled by a consortium of 10 electric companies, in partnership with the Tuvalu Electric Company, and is largely funded by the government of Japan through a special development contribution.
So far, a 40 kW solar panel system has been installed on the roof of the national sports stadium, and the project is currently being expanded to 65 kW of capacity. A number of other solar projects are also ongoing, including solar thermal and solar ovens in different regions.
Sunlight is an abundant resource on tiny, Pacific islands such as Tuvalu. Converting that sunshine to energy? Seems like a winning Solution.