Liro Community on Paama Island enjoy new Solar PV Nano-Grid

April 25, 2023

One of the four Solar PV array installed in one of the compound sites on Liro, Paama Island.

Photo: UNDP

Paama Island, Vanuatu - People of Paama Island in Malampa Province have a reason to smile today with the newly installed 9.9 Kw Solar PV Nano-grid, the first of its kind in Vanuatu to provide energy access to rural remote off grid communities. This has been made possible through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Barrier Removal for Achieving the National Energy Road Map Targets of Vanuatu (BRANTV) Project with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The initiative is driven by the government’s commitment embedded in the Vanuatu National Energy Road Map (NERM) targets through the Department of Energy under the Ministry of Climate change encouraging donors and development partners to support the government in developing the Vanuatu energy sector by contributing to the planned initiatives identified in this Road Map.  

The economic and physical geography and spatial demographic spread and dispersed settlement patterns of the population across Vanuatu contribute to high investment cost to connect communities to energy sources, The implementation of appropriate renewable energy technologies, bridge the gap from electrification concession grid to rural off grid areas in Vanuatu.

(L-R) UNDP Programme Analyst, Donald Wouloseje, Minister of Finance and Economic Management, John Salong; UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Deputy Resident Representative, Yemesrach Workie; and Hon. Minister of Climate Change, Ralph Regenvanu.

The BRANTV project was designed specifically to be an enabler in promoting the implementation of the NERM of Vanuatu demonstrating various renewable energy solutions, providing affordable and clean energy services to the 71 percent of rural off-grid communities throughout Vanuatu. The project is a vehicle to promote Vanuatu rural off grid connection with the development of renewable energy technologies in the selected 34 sites in Vanuatu serving 13,000 rural population with 2,500 households actively supported by UNDP through GEF funding mechanism. The newly installed Solar PV Nano-grid connection for Liro Community on Paama island is a testament to the directives from the government through the project, where rural remote island communities in the provinces can have access to clean and affordable electricity to improve the livelihood and their wellbeing.

People living in the communities will benefit from the electricity by way of improving their welfare, health, improved delivery of services, boost productions in all sectors more particularly the agriculture sector, enhance business relations and increase market and trading system. It will also benefit women, girls and people living with disabilities.

The Solar PV Nano-grid on Paama island is one off a kind demonstration site under the project whereby the Department of Energy is seeking to understand the various economically and technically viable options in energy solutions for Vanuatu and identify the options that are cost effective and efficient in the rural context which can later be replicated to other rural communities in Vanuatu. The Vallen Family Compound PV Solar Nano Grid System is serving 22 households in the community of Liro with 211 population which have direct connections on the four systems including businesses and public institutions.

BRANTV Vallen family compound Nano-grid system sign board.

Photo: UNDP

Furthermore, the high-capacity community Solar PV systems in the selected BRANTV project sites in Vanuatu have been installed to electrify community facilities such as community halls, churches, women centers, schools, health centers a few sites are connected with V-Satellite disc to provide internet access for the schools and network services for local communities to connect to their families engaged in the RSE and SWP overseas.

The launching of the Liro Vallen Community compound Solar PV Nano-grid connection was officiated by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Deputy Resident Representative Yemesrach Workie, the Vanuatu Hon. Minister of Climate Change Ralph Regenvanu and a high-level government delegation including the Minister of Finance and Economic Management, John Salong at a ceremony on Thursday 20 April 2023.

“The community of Liro on Paama island has a reason to smile today in this occasion in front of the official government delegation,” said Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Climate Change & Energy.

“You were privileged to be selected among other priority sites in Vanuatu to have access to clean energy services at your doors delivered through the project. We acknowledge the level of support from UNDP through GEF and we will continue to strengthen this partnership with other development partners in electrifying our rural communities throughout Vanuatu”.

Tossing of Kava during the official launching: far right, Member of Parliament (MP) Terry Alick, MP, Job Andy, Minister of Finance & Economic Management – Hon. John Salong, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative – Yemesrach Workie, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu – Minister of Climate Change & Energy.

“Access to clean renewable energy services comes at a very high cost and it will always be a challenge to the Government of Vanuatu to bring such services to the off-grid rural communities in Vanuatu. That is the main reason why we depend on funding assistance from our donors and development partners to advance the development of our energy sector in Vanuatu,” Mr. Antony Garae, Director of Energy added.

BRANTV project hosted by the Department of Energy, is supported by the GEF Global Environment Fund and implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change.

In alignment with the Vanuatu National Strategic Development Programme 2030, and UN Sustainable Development Goals 7 - Access to Clean and Affordable Energy is key to development of economic sectors contributing to growth and lack of access to energy hinders economic and human development. As part of UNDP’s strategic plan, it has put access to energy at the heart of UNDP’s mission, and to better meet the ambitions of the 2023 Agenda and implement the Samoa Pathway priorities to ensure that no one is left behind. The approach for Vanuatu is to implement an Integrated Service Delivery to support Vanuatu’s last mile communities providing access to energy and boost digital connectivity to e-government services for its citizens in the rural remote communities.

Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Climate Change & Energy making his remarks.

“Energy is a catalyst for economic development. And for a developing Small Island developing state (SIDS) as Vanuatu the need for affordable and reliable energy services is rather fundamental to our development aspirations,” said Yemesrach Workie, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.

“As we envisaged new pipeline developments in the energy sector and with the Vanuatu Green Energy transformation in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change, we are confident to continue to contribute enormously to Vanuatu’s development priorities. UNDP stands with the government of Vanuatu to achieve its NERM targets by 2030.

This week’s ceremony recognized the ongoing cooperation partnership between UNDP and the Vanuatu Ministry of Climate Change.

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Donald Wouloseje, Country Coordinator, UNDP: