Fifty-four households on Yanuca Island in Serua now boast their new solar home systems after Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological Services, Jone Usamate, officially handed over the project today.
Minister Usamate said that the project, worth over $160,000, is part of the 13,000-home solar system electrification initiative that his Ministry has been undertaking throughout the country this year.
“Currently, 96 per cent of the country has access to electricity, and that leaves us with 4 per cent to focus on,” said the Minister.
“For the province of Serua, the Government has utilized 1.3 million dollars on electrification projects in four years from 2017 to 2021.”
“Today, we are here to hand over these solar systems to every household officially, and I urge you to take ownership as this also means that their upkeep and maintenance are in your hand.”
The Minister added that such exercises had been carried out in other parts of the country, such as Niurua in Macuata, Valeni in Cakaudrove, and Nukusere in Namosi.
“Our officers have been visiting rural electrification projects around the country since August to identify projects that recipients have well maintained. This is with the view of handing over these projects to them, similar to what we are doing today.”
The Minister said that the Government implemented the “Electrification Policy” this year to allow recipients to take ownership of their projects.
“This means that Government will no longer require the $18 a month levy for maintenance, but the recipients will be responsible for their upkeep.”
“The other is to allow the recipients to expand your systems further, should you wish to have more power to cater for your businesses or other projects,” said Minister Usamate.
“Electrification brings with its opportunities to use home electrical appliances, allow your children to study effectively at night, and use electronic devices that can enhance their studies.”
“By carrying out projects such as this, Government is also committing to building a better Fiji, one that provides equal opportunities for every Fijian, and one of the determinations of the Government is to meet its objective of ensuring all Fijians have access to reliable electrical power and to have 100% renewable energy in Fiji by 2036,” the Minister said.
67-year-old Yanuca villager, Emani Masivoivoi, said the solar project presents them with many opportunities.
“Our women can continue with their weaving at night, and more importantly, our children can now study under bright lights,” he said.
“Our heartfelt gratitude to the Government of the day for this wonderful improvement, and we can now only look forward to a brighter future for our children.”