The new plant is expected to provide improved access to sustainable energy services to the people and businesses of Mangaia.
Prime minister Henry Puna led the cutting of the ribbon and the opening of the solar power plant, which an ADB media release said will provide residents with clean and reliable energy.
The solar power plant in Mangaia is the third to come online from the Cook Islands Renewable Energy Sector Project, co-financed by ADB, the government of Japan’s Pacific Environment Community Funds, the European Union, the Global Climate Fund, and the Global Environment Facility.
A plant in Mitiaro opened in May and another in Atiu opened in August. When a plant in Mauke opens, the project will be providing clean and affordable electricity to about eight per cent of the Cook Islands’ population.
“Over 500 more people will soon enjoy the benefits of solar-generated power,” said ADB senior energy specialist for the Pacific, Cindy Tiangco at the event.
“ADB remains committed to working with our partners to help the government of the Cook Islands’ renewable energy targets.”
The ADB release said other benefits of the project would increased electricity output from renewable energy sources and enhanced energy security delivered in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“The project is assisting the government to develop an energy efficiency policy implementation plan and training will be provided to government staff working with solar battery energy storage systems,” the release added.
The opening was also attended by Culture minister George Maggie, Office of the Prime Minister chief of staff Ben Ponia, local government officials, traditional leaders and representatives of firms and government departments involved in the project.