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Solomon Islands

Official Name:
Solomon Islands

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Mr. Hudson Kauhiona
Director Climate Change
+677 24074

Energy profile

Solomon Islands (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Throughout the Solomon Islands, less than 16% of the population is grid connected. In Honiara, 72 % of the households have electricity but the number of connections is declining. The Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) is unable to connect new customers, and with customers unable to pay the high costs (US$ 0.55/kWh in 2008), disconnections increase.  In rural areas, where 85 % of the population lives, less than 10% of households have access to electricity.Of the households with electricity 69% received power from SIEA. Outside Honiara, only 41% of electrified households had SIEA service, 28% had their own source, and 23% reported that they received electricity from a private company. Also many businesses have their own generator due to frequent SIEA outages.

Renewable energy potential

Solar energyAs the Solomon Islands lies near the equator, there is considerable solar energy potential, with insolation values of 5 kWh/m2/day or higher, among the highest levels in the region. A number of small-scale and demonstration projects are operational in the islands, including solar home systems (SHS) provided through Government funding since 2011 while Government of Republic of China (Taiwan) has since 2009 supplied SHSs for all constituencies in the country and solar systems for rural schools. The respective Governments’ of Italy & Turkey have complemented the Government of Solomon Islands program to provide solar lighting for rural-based schools including boarding ones and rural clinics. On 28 September 2012, the Government will launch a 2 years-pilot project on installation of SHSs for 2000 households in the country that would requires each household to pay cost of installation (including transportation) and operation & maintenance costs over the 2 years period. RESCOs contracted by the Government will install the SHSs and service the systems over the life-time of the pilot phase. This project is funded under the Pacific Environmental Fund (PEC) provided by the Government of Japan to the Pacific Islands countries following commitment made Government of Japan at the Fifth Japan-Pacific Islands’ Leaders Summit.Depending on the outcome of the pilot phase, the Government plans to roll-out this programme to cover rest of the rural population.. There was a solar lighting scheme through SOPAC/REEEP co-operation, with tailored financing mechanisms, allowing recipients to pay for installations via non-fiscal means, for example with crop production.HydropowerThere is substantial hydropower potential. However, dams and storage reservoirs would be technically difficult and expensive, limiting most sites to run-of-river schemes.   The government developed a database of over 100 sites for possible small hydro development, of which 62 have an estimated overall capacity of 11 MW. A Japan International Cooperation Agency study estimated the total hydroelectric potential of the country to be 326 MW. A feasibility study conducted by the Government, with support from the World Bank and the Government of Australia, proposed a 15 MW hydropower development on the Tina River near Honiara, with an annual electricity production of 60 GWh.Feasibility studies on the Tina River hydropower scheme proposed for Honiara is continuing. With assistance from ADB, feasibility studies will be conducted by end of 2012 on 5 small-scale hydro schemes for provincial centres to reduce SIEA’s use of diesel-based power generation at these towns.Wind energyThere are no data on the Solomons’ wind energy potential. Nonetheless, wind would be a costly option, because of the variable wind regime together with the need to design equipment for typhoon conditions. Through the Pacific Islands Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Renewable Energy Program (PIGGAREP), in conjunction with the country’s governmental Energy Division, requests for quotation for four wind monitoring systems for the island were made in early 2011, so that the wind resource potential of the islands may be assessed. The wind towers are expected to be installed by end of 2012 at four locations around the country.Ocean BasedThe sea wave energy potential has not been assessed. Extrapolating from results from Fiji and Vanuatu, annual average wave power could be roughly 14 kW/metre of wave front, with a wide range varying by site.Biomass The Solomon Islands is heavily forested. Palm oil and copra are major agricultural commodities. Traditional biomass use is still relatively widespread in the unelectrified regions of the country. A large palm oil plantation closed in 1999 due to ethnic tensions but has re-opened and has increased its production. In the mid 1980s, copra output exceeded 40,000 tonnes, enough to produce an equivalent of 28 ML of distillate, sufficient to displace about half of current diesel fuel imports. Economic opportunities for biomass for power generation are, however, very limited. No dedicated study has been conducted on the potential for biomass power generation in the islands.Geothermal energyThere are indications of exploitable geothermal resources in at least four locations, with an estimated potential of 10 MW. The two main geothermal areas are the Nggurara and Paraso Bay geothermal fields, with hot spring temperatures in the 30-90 degrees Celsius range.In March 2012, the Government issued prospecting license to Kentor Energy Pty Ltd to prospect for geothermal resource on the island of Savo (off-shore of Honiara).  The company will commence investigative survey work in October 2012 with the objective of supplying power into the main grid (via submarine cables) hopefully by 2016  if the project is viable. 

Energy framework

Since approximately 2007, there is a National Energy Policy Framework in place, implemented through the Pacific Islands Energy Policy and Strategic Action Planning (PIEPSAP) project. The National Energy Policy Framework has been endorsed by Cabinet of Solomon islands Government in 2007.The World Bank has started a Sustainable Energy Finance Project in 2007, aiming to significantly increase the adoption and use of renewable energy technologies in participating Pacific Island states (including the Solomon Islands) through a package of incentives to encourage local financial institutions to participate in sustainable energy finance in support of equipment purchase. In the Solomon Islands, it specifically targets the SIEA, aiming to strengthen the institutional and financial capacity of the Authority through management training and improvements in revenue collection, as well as technical capacity in terms of rehabilitation of the distribution network, and sustainable energy-specific technical training. 

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