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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - The 49th AuSES Annual Conference
Title Identifying Capacity Building Needs for Household PV Systems in Pacific Island Forum States
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
URL http://solar.org.au/papers/11papers/11_25_Tukunga.pdf
The Pacific Islands Forum Developing States have specific socio-economic and environmental characteristics associated with their small and remote communities that make PV technologies highly promising yet also challenging to implement within their broader electricity industry arrangements. PV lighting systems in the Kingdom of Tonga have been installed in the remoter islands by government programs with overseas donor financial support and only limited private sector involvement in decision-making. Despite on-going technical and management training, PV users have often experienced low service quality over the longer term, largely due to poor maintenance. The influx of new high-tech PV equipment to remote areas has also created environmental challenges in managing the use and disposal of hazardous materials. Meanwhile, the demographics and needs of these isolated communities continue to change from factors such as migration to urban centres or other countries. There have been challenges in establishing and maintaining appropriate PV payment arrangements. Furthermore, the frequent policy and institutional changes associated with migration of trained technicians, changes in elected town officers and absence of formal regulatory roles and functions has disrupted project governance. Last but not least, the reliance of remote communities on unstable sources of income such as remittances, tourism and agriculture has often led to significant financial arrears and enforced revenue collection for the PV systems. This highlights the importance of structuring the PV industry and associated regulatory and incentive arrangements to improve return on investment and therefore attract appropriate private and community sector involvement. Regulatory functions require greater engagement from key stakeholders and better performance incentives for both PV end users, and those with the skills and responsibility to ensure ongoing delivery of energy services.

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