From left to right, Palau Utilities Corporation Chairman Gregorio Decherong, Palau Community College (PCC) Chairman of the Board of Trustees Masa-Aki Emesiochl, and PCC President Patrick Tellei during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the installation of grid-connected photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of the PCC Cafeteria. The project is funded by a grant from the New Zealand government.

The New Zealand-backed project to install grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at the Palau Community College (PCC) and the Kayangel island will begin January.

Ken Sugiyama, renewable energy specialist at the PPUC, told Island Times that the projects are expected to become fully operational by June next year.

The PCC and Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) executives had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) yesterday, December 10, for the installation of solar PVs at the PCC cafeteria’s roofs.

Suigiyama said that the projects are funded by the New Zealand government at a cost of $1.3-million. This fund was part of the $5-million aid released by New Zealand government for the North Pacific countries like the Federated States of Micronesia(FSM) and the Marshall Islands including Palau.

Through the grant, Kayangel will be the first state in Palau to become fully powered by renewable energy. This is part of the country’s move to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of generating 45% renewable energy by 2025 under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Aside from solar PVs, a battery system will also be installed in Kayangel.

Kayangel State, which has a land area of about 1.4 km2 and a population of 138 based on the year 2000 consensus, currently relies on a diesel-powered generator for its power supply. ( Rhealyn C. Pojas)