Solar-plus-storage system commissioned in Tonga with 2MWh capacity


A solar-plus-storage project combining 300kW of PV and a 2MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) has been installed in the Polynesian archipelago nation of Tonga.

The project on the island of Vava’u was commissioned by Tonga Power Limited (TPL), the country’s sole electric utility, on 14 March. It will be integrated with existing diesel generators and will allow TPL to integrate renewable energy into its grid and increase grid reliability.

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Both the solar and storage portions were built by New Zealand-based renewable energy firm Infratec with the support of local contractors JH Electrical and Clay Energy.

The project is the third phase of the first lot of the Tonga Renewable Energy project (TREP). Phase one involved two BESS projects, one for load shifting and one for grid stability and together totalling 16.5MW/29.2MWh, which were commissioned on the main island of Tongatapu last year by developer Akuo.

Then at the start of this month (2 March) the Éua Solar and BESS project, with 1.8MWh of capacity, was turned online. The next phases of TREP will see solar and storage projects deployed on the island groupings of Ha’apai and Niuafoóu.

The projects have been funded by Green Climate Fund (GCF), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Government of Australia with contributions from the Government of Tonga and Tonga Power Limited. ADB first announced its involvement back in 2019.

The announcement is the latest in a flurry of solar-plus-storage and microgrid projects on island nations around the world, aiming to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports and diesel generators and improve grid reliability. Just this week, has reported on three major ones.

Global system integrator Fluence and a subsidiary of its parent company Siemens completed a renewable energy microgrid with 15MWh BESS on Terceira, a Portuguese Azores island; an 82MWh system was proposed in Cyprus; and a French company won contracts to provide four solar PV projects with attached BESS in Mauritius, near Madagascar.

Read more coverage renewable energy projects on islands utilising energy storage here.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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