On March 23, Minister Charles Obichang, Minister Billy Kuartei, Minister Umiich Sengebau, representatives from Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), Palau Energy Administration and the Office of Climate Change accompanied Kayangel Governor Midas Ngiracheluolu and members of the State Legislature in witnessing the commissioning of the state’s new solar photovoltaic (PV) water pump and supply system. [restrict]

Contributing to Palau’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) specifically its target of 45% renewable energy and 35% energy efficiency by 2025, the project equally advances Palau’s direction towards achieving sustainable development through renewable energy in the national level, but also regionally and internationally through its commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Stressing and acknowledging the importance of this project to the people of Kayangel and the nation, Governor Ngiracheluolu recalled memories of hauling water everyday in order to meet their daily needs, stating, “I remember a time when I was a young boy going to school here in Kayangel, one of my chores was to carry water to the house every day. The project will not only help improve the daily lives of every household in Kayangel, but also set the stage for social and economic development.”

The project valued at approximately $320,000 replaced existing standard water pumps powered by electric motors with a sustainable system that is entirely reliant on solar power – energy harnessed from the sun’s rays. The new water pumps are installed 6 feet below ground level with connection to solar panels positioned on top of the housing unit. The water is channeled to a 60-feet water tower and stored in a 5,000-gallon tank using gravity flow to distribute the water to residents. A new electric powered motor was also installed as a backup in the event overcast or operational issues arise. The backup will ensure that water services to Kayangel remains uninterrupted.

The new system is a direct result of collaborative efforts and partnership between the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement Project (PIGGAREP) Plus regional project, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), and the government of Palau.

Palau Energy Administration

Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries & Commerce

SPREP Director General Leota Kosi Latu, who led a collaborated delegation comprising of SPREP and UNDP officials including Environment & Climate Change Program Manager Yvette Kerslake, SPREP Coordinator Simpson Abraham, UNDP Program Associate Ioane Iosefo and Sharon Sakuma of Palau’s UNDP Presence Office, noted some challenges during implementation of the project, however he stated those challenges were overcomed through partnership and support from the government of Palau, the contractor and the people of Kayangel.

Reiterating a message conveyed to him by President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. during a meeting earlier in the week, Director General Latu expressed, “the key priority for Palau is to address the challenge of access and quality of water and its link to renewable energy for communities”.

The Kayangel Solar PV Water Pump and Supply System Project is the first of many projects on renewable energy and sustainable development that President Remengesau, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce, and the Palau Energy Administration aims to implement throughout communities in Palau providing better access, affordability and reliability of essential services for a more sustainable future. [/restrict]