UAE-based Masdar has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Tongan Government to build a 500kW solar photovoltaic power plant in the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, Masdar will be in charge of the implementation and construction of the solar photovoltaic facility, which will be installed in Vava’u Island.

Lord Ma’afu – Tonga’s Minister of lands, survey, natural resources, energy, environment and climate change – was quoted by the Gulf News as saying: "The project is another strong demonstration of His Majesty’s commitment to promoting climate change mitigation through clean energy reform and by integrating green power generation to produce 13% of the annual electricity demand.

"The project will also result in strong social and economic benefits through a reduction in the price of electricity and saving 180,000 litres of diesel fuel."

The project, financed by a grant provided by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), is part of the Tonga Energy road map. This ten year plan is intended to increase access to modern energy services through environmentally sustainable means.

The initiatives are part of the UAE’s commitments in support of the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’, which was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the World Future Energy Summit.