Adoption of Climate-Smart Technologies: The Case of Rural Solar Electricity in the Pacific Islands

Conference paper
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


The small island developing states of the Pacific suffer from both the high cost of fossil fuel imports and from numerous climate-related disasters. Apart from traditional wood-fuelled cooking, the only substantial uses of RE in the Pacific currently are hydropower in some of the hillier island countries and household photovoltaic systems in rural areas and outer islands. In several Pacific Island countries hundreds of such PV systems have already been installed on individual houses, and more are on the way. Almost all are rated at 100 W or less and are used mainly for lighting but with some battery charging for telecommunications, portable lamps, radios, etc. The main issues for the sustainability of these systems are not so much technical but financial and institutional. The paper reviews these issues as they apply in the Pacific Islands and some of the ways that have been used to address them.


Pacific islands Solar home systems Off-grid Solar Photovoltaic Rural electricity 



This paper is an amplification of one section of TW’s keynote address to the International Conference on Technology Transfer and Renewable Energy, held at University of Mauritius, 21–22 June 2012. Both authors acknowledge financial assistance and encouragement from Project DIREKT, without which neither of us would have been able to participate in that conference. We also thank an anonymous referee for helpful comments.


  1. Bijay P, Schulte V, Prasad S (2012) An overview of climate intelligent technologies in the Pacific region In: Leal W and others (eds) CLIMATE 2012 (5–9 Nov 2012), online at
  2. Chaurey A, Kandpal TC (2010) Assessment and evaluation of PV based decentralized rural electrification: an overview. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 14:2266–2278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dornan M (2011) Solar-based rural electrification policy design: the renewable energy service company (RESCO) model in Fiji. Renewable Energy 36:797–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Edenhofer O, Pichs-Madruga R, Sokona Y, Seyboth K, Matschoss P, Kadner S, Zwickel T, Eickemeier P, Hansen G, Schlömer S and von Stechow C (ed) (2011) IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  5. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC: summary for policymakers. Intergovernmental panel on climate change
  6. Jafar M (2000) Renewable energy in the South Pacific—options and constraints. Renew Energy 19:305–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mala K, Schlapfer A, Pryor T (2009) Better or worse? The role of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in sustainable development: case studies of remote atoll communities in Kiribati. Renew Energy 34:358–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Marau M (2012) Women to bring light to homes. Fiji Times, 16 June 2012Google Scholar
  9. Newcombe K, Dorn H, Meyers S, Schubert P, Siwatibau S, Weir T (1982a) Pacific energy program mission report (11 ‘country’ volumes). South Pacific Bureau for economic co-operation, with Australian National University, East-West Center, ESCAP, European economic community, UNDP SuvaGoogle Scholar
  10. Newcombe K, Meyers S, Scanlan T, Siwatibau S (1982b) Pacific energy programme mission report: cook Islands south pacific bureau for economic co-operation (with Australian National University, East West Center, European Economic Commission and UN Development Programme), SuvaGoogle Scholar
  11. Rao BB, Sharma KL, Singh R, Lata N (2008) A survey of growth and development issues in the Pacific Islands. Pac Econ Bull 23:102–123Google Scholar
  12. SPC (2011) Energy security indicators (compilation of PIC national data). Unpublished Secretariat of Pacific Communities, Economic Development Division, SuvaGoogle Scholar
  13. SPC (2012a) North-REP providing access to modern energy services in FSM. Pacific Energiser, 11 May 2012Google Scholar
  14. SPC (2012b) Statistics and demography. Secretariat of the Pacific communities,
  15. Urmee T, Harries D (2012) The solar home PV program in Fiji—a successful RESCO approach? Renew Energy 48:499–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wade H, Johnston P, Vos J (2005) Pacific regional energy assessment 2004: regional overview report, vol 1. SPREP, ApiaGoogle Scholar
  17. Weir AD (1985) Electrification of atolls in Polynesia: comparison between diesel generators and photovoltaics: a summary/translation of a report originally issued in 1983 by Agence Francaise pour le Maitrise de I ‘Energie. South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation SuvaGoogle Scholar
  18. Weir T, Orcherton D (2012) Climate change issues in the Pacific Islands: an overview In: Leal W and others (eds) CLIMATE 2012, (5–9 Nov 2012), online at
  19. Woodruff A (2007) An economic assessment of renewable energy options for rural electrification in Pacific Island countries SOPAC Technical Report 397 SOPAC (SPC), SuvaGoogle Scholar
  20. World Bank (1992) Pacific regional energy assessment, (vol 1: overview)Google Scholar
  21. IPCC special report on renewable energy sources and climate change mitigation. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  22. WRI (2010) Climate analysis indicators tool (ver 8.0). World Resources Institute ( at Dec 2010)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.c/o Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentUniversity of the South PacificSuvaFiji

Personalised recommendations