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International Finance Corporation initiative helps Pacific Business’ cut energy costs

Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, February 2, 2017 —The Pacific Islands have some of the most expensive electricity prices in the world but thanks to a new partnership between IFC and Smart Commercial Solar, Pacific businesses struggling with high energy costs can get help to evaluate more competitive options.
The first phase of the project kicks off with a free energy report offered by SCS to businesses interested in calculating how much they can save if they switched to solar.  This report is targeted at commercial and industrial customers who pay commercial rates for electricity. The report, which is accessed after filling in a small online survey, shows the savings a solar system will generate for an organization.
Huon Hoogesteger, CEO of Smart Commercial Solar said the Pacific solar campaign has a dual focus - supplying electricity users in the Pacific Islands with information on how to reduce costs and gathering data on the challenges business’ face and what assistance they might need in making the transition to solar.
“Solar panel prices have fallen 80% since 2009 making solar electricity very competitive especially in the Pacific Islands which experience some of the most expensive electricity prices in the world.”
Rooftop solar and grid tied solar have grown rapidly worldwide with over 1.6 million installations in Australia and over 1 million in the United States.  IFC’s Regional Manager, Pacific, Tom Jacobs observed that despite the high cost of electricity, the Pacific has lagged behind in the use of renewable energy especially solar power.
“The aim of the research is to determine the barriers to solar development and increase commercial solar use throughout Pacific”.
Recent feasibility studies completed in Vanuatu as part of this project, showed rates of return over 20% and payback periods under 4 years for grid tied commercial solar.
Global trends suggest businesses get the best results from solar as they are on higher tariffs and use most of their power during the day. The systems are grid tied, meaning a connection to the local utility provider is maintained and no battery storage is needed.  One uses solar while the sun shines and return automatically to the grid when it doesn’t.
“The world is moving away from the age of fossil fuels to the age of renewable energy” said Mr Jacobs, “this is a unique paradigm shift that will allow the Pacific Island Countries to meet their ambitious renewable energy targets over the next 5-10 years”.
The research, that is funded through the Pacific Partnership, supported by the governments of Australia (DFAT) and New Zealand (MFAT), will also help determine what has been holding back the growth of solar electricity in the Pacific Islands with specific focus on developing sustainable solutions.
The survey is targeted at understanding the challenges for commercial electricity users in the Pacific Islands, to assist them in making the transition to cheaper energy. Please take the survey at www.pacificsolarsurvey.com
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
Pacific Partnership
IFC’s work in the Pacific is guided by the Pacific Partnership. Australia, New Zealand and IFC are working together through the Pacific Partnership to stimulate private sector investment and reduce poverty in the Pacific.
About Smart Commercial Solar
Smart Commercial Solar (SCS) is an Australian based commercial solar company that has been expanding into Pacific Islands over the last 18 months.  Australian clients include companies such as Ikea, State Rail, Bunnings and several Australian government departments.
SCS have fine-tuned their analysis and simplified the reporting of commercial customers’ energy use supplying a comprehensive visual report to clients, which clearly shows the financial opportunity by moving their business to solar.
SCS are bringing years of expertise from Australia’s competitive solar industry to the Pacific Islands. SCS are offering pay as you go solar that requires no upfront capital investment. SCS are looking to partner with existing commercial businesses in Pacific markets to build relationships and help grow their client base. If you are a commercial business based in the Pacific and are interested for more information on becoming a local agent, partnering with SCS, we invite you to contact us at www.smartcommercialenergy.com
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