It’s been just over a year since the Maama Mai Solar Farm in Nuku’alofa was commissioned – designed, supplied and installed by Reid Technology – and already it’s one of the three largest solar farms in the Pacific region.
The project was a Public Private Partnership between the Government of Tonga, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tonga Power Ltd and Meridian Energy Ltd. For the five years following commissioning, Meridian will provide Tonga Power with the necessary technical assistance and maintenance assistance, with the full ownership moving to Tonga Power in 2017. Reid Technology Ltd was the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) supplier to Meridian, meaning it designed, supplied and installed the farm while working closely alongside Meridian as project developer.
The availability of reliable, cost-effective power has been identified as a key driver of economic development for developing nations such as those in the Pacific. The Tongan economy has already benefited from the project in terms of job creation, with the vast majority of the construction team being Tongan.
It’s also exceeding expectations in terms of the amount of power it is generating. The farm was forecast to produce 1880 MWh of solar power in its first year of operation, equating to a diesel saving of around 470,000 litres per annum and a carbon savings around 2,000 tonnes per annum. The farm exceeded this, effectively reaching its target within just 11 months, meaning the project has been a major success on all fronts.
Reid Technology was a finalist in the Renewables Impact category of the 2013 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.