Pacific pilot project puts spotlight on solar

Pacific domestic vessels equipped with solar systems are saving up to 32 percent a year on operational costs, or over $US32,000, as part of a new pilot project focused on reducing emissions and the use of renewable energy in Maritime transport.

The Pacific Community (SPC) said recently installed solar systems on vessels in Vanuatu and Samoa meant the boats did not need to use fuel when in port – while also reducing the consumption for electricity generation at sea.

Lights, fresh-water pumps and systems like the air-conditioning, hot plates and refrigerators can now all be powered by solar.

The project is part of the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre based at the SPC in Noumea and funded by the European Union.

The pilot is showing it can save up to 100 tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year supporting a shift towards more renewables in the maritime transport sector.

“The greatest cost for boat operators in the Pacific is fuel. Its estimated 75 percent of petroleum consumed across the Pacific is used for land and maritime transport which is a lifeline for our people,” SPC’s Director-General Colin Tukuitonga said in a statement.

“As we need to embrace low carbon development in the Pacific and phase out fossil fuels, we must find more sustainable and efficient ways of operating our ships. Innovative technologies can both reduce emissions and bring significant cost savings for operators”.

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