Tonga | 24 August 2022

Tonga solar farm online after PSDI's PPP assistance

about psdi

The final tranche of a Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI)-supported solar farm in Tonga has come online, in what is the largest project of its kind in the South Pacific. 

The six-megawatt (MW) solar farm, across three sites on the island of Tongatapu, was established under an independent power production (IPP) contract in 2019 between Tonga Power Limited (TPLand New Zealand firm Sunergise, with technical assistance from PSDI. 

Under the terms of the IPP contract, Sunergise has financed and built the solar farm, and will operate it for 25 years, selling the electricity generated to TPL. 

PSDI provided full support to TPL in implementing the public-private partnership (PPP) transaction, including the preparation of tender documents, execution of the two-staged tender, bid evaluation, and contract negotiations. 

On 24 August 2022, the final two solar farm sites were commissioned, bringing the 6MW farmthe largest of its kind in the South Pacific regionfully online. The farm is expected to provide about 15% of Tonga’s current energy needs. 

“The solar farm will play a critical role in reducing costs and helping Tonga achieve its target of generating 70% of electricity through renewable fuels by 2030,” State-Owned Enterprise Reform and PPP Expert Laure Darcy said. “PSDI was pleased to support TPL in running a fully competitive process for this IPP contract.” 

PHOTO 2022 08 22 16 19 21
Representatives of Sunergise, Clay Engineering, TPL, and ADB at the Tongatapu solar farm.

The farm’s establishment was made possible by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Tonga Renewable Energy Project (TREP), which is helping Tonga rapidly transition to cleaner forms of power generation and increase electricity access for outer-island communities. 

TREP is developing Tonga’s first large-scale battery storage in the Tongatapu network to absorb intermittent renewable energy, such as that provided by the solar farm. 

PSDI is an ADB technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. PSDI supports ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.