India-assisted photovoltaic solar power project in Tonga

The Kolomotu’a solar power project inaugurated Thursday will power in a sustainable way the remote islands in the archipelago nation in south of Pacific.The two women solar engineers – Halatoa Siutiti and Leohau Siale – are hailed as "pioneers" of solar energy in the Pacific region and have been trained as solar engineers in India’s Barefoot College in Rajasthan, Meira Kumar said in her speech at the inauguration ceremony.

The solar power plant is partly run by a women community group in Tonga. "I commend the Kolomotu’a community and the Women’s Community Group for undertaking to implement this project and wish them success in their laudable endeavour," Meira Kumar said, according to a press statement from the speaker’s camp office here.

She hoped that the solar project for which India has provided the necessary equipment would be instrumental in achieving the goals of sustainable rural development and women empowerment.Meira Kumar said Pacific island countries were faced with the challenge of ensuring sustainable and inclusive social and economic growth for their people.

She said the Pacific nations were rightly concerned with the adverse climatic impact and were moving to solar energy and other forms of renewable energy. "This project is crucial as it also addresses the need to shift from conventional to renewable sources of energy. My compliments to the visionary leadership of Kingdom of Tonga for creating an enabling environment for such projects to flourish."

The speaker noted that India and Tonga "enjoy close and cordial relations" and that India has always been committed to sharing its developmental experience with fellow developing countries in the framework of South-South cooperation.