Named ‘Te Mana o te Ra’ – meaning ‘the power from the sun’ – the 961 kilowatt photovoltaic array will be the size of several house sites and provide about six per cent of Rarotonga’s annual electricity generation.
Steve Anderson, whose company Andersons Limited will be heavily involved in the project, said there is little to be done until 3800 panels arrive by ship in three to four weeks.
They will be transported in seven containers and end up covering a 135-metre by 75-metre area on the site.
A range of other equipment and materials will also arrive with the panels, Anderson said.
“There’s going to be hundreds and hundreds of these support frames underneath.”
The panels will sit up to two metres off the ground, allowing for the grass to be mowed underneath.
They will rest on a slight upward tilt, facing north, pointing away from the runway.
New Zealand company Infratec Renewables Ltd (formerly NETcon International) is the main contractor but local business Mike Rennie Builders Ltd is doing the civil construction.
Andersons Ltd will be doing all the electrical work in the $3.3 million project, including hooking up the 11,000-volt transformer which feeds power into the grid.
The system is due to be commissioned by October.