15,000 solar kits to light up remote West New Britain

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Fifteen thousand solar home kits will be delivered and installed in West New Britain Province under a newly launched rural off-grid energy access program supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership.

The solar home kits are part of the West New Britain Electrification Project, which delivers sustainable solutions to remote communities.

The solar home kits will include clean lighting and charging facilities, and will be prioritised for communities with the least access to electrification in Kandrian-Gloucester and Talasea districts.

Barefoot College, a community organisation involved in training local women in solar energy with a training facility in Kimbe, will play a key role in this project.

Papua New Guinean women from Barefoot College completed solar engineer training in India in 2018, and will distribute solar products, train village-based solar officers, and provide ongoing support for the maintenance of the kits.

The West New Britain Electrification Project is one of a number of off-grid energy projects to be funded by the PNG-Australia Partnership.

Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp, on his first trip to the province, joined Minister for State Enterprises and Regional MP Sasindran Muthuvel and West New Britain Governor and Talasea MP Francis Maneke to launch the new project. US Ambassador to PNG, Erin McKee, attended the launch.

“Access to energy is a key enabler of economic growth and community prosperity,” High Commissioner Philp said. “The West New Britain Electrification Project is one way that the PNG-Australia Partnership is supporting increased energy access across PNG, with a focus on clean energy solutions.”

This project is part of Australia’s commitment to help PNG meet its target of connecting 70% of the country to electricity by 2030.

High Commissioner Philp, Minister Muthuvel and Governor Maneke also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly redevelop Kimbe Market. Construction is due to commence in January 2021.

The Kimbe Market redevelopment will significantly expand undercover space for vendors to generate economic activity, as well as improving water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to prevent the spread of infectious disease, such as COVID-19.

Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp (right) and Minister for State Enterprises and Regional MP Sasindran Muthuvel cutting the ribbon to mark the launching of the solar program.

Feature Pic:Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp (second from right) with other dignitaries; US Ambassador to PNG, Erin McKee (left), West New Britain Governor and Talasea MP Francis Maneke and Minister for State Enterprises and Regional MP Sasindran Muthuvel (right) with the display

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