New Zealand Funding For Photovoltaic Solar Energy Plant In Afghanistan

New Zealand will fund the largest solar energy plant in Afghanistan, the government announced Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said a total of 18.6 million NZ dollars (US$15.05 million) will be provided by the government for building the plant in the Bamyan province, Xinhua news agency reported.

Two New Zealand companies — NetCon Ltd. and Sustainable Energy Services International — have been awarded the contract for the 1.05 MW plant, with construction expected to be completed at the end of 2013.

“Energy is a top priority for Afghanistan’s development and the Bamyan government welcomes this initiative to bring power to the province,” McCully said.

The plant will supply power to about 2,500 homes, businesses and government buildings.

“This project is as much about building a utility and training staff as it is about constructing a reliable energy facility. The system must be sustainable in the long term, so to that end the government will set a tariff that is affordable, but also covers the cost of maintenance,” McCully said.