Community gets behind rural electrification program

15 February 2021

The Rural Electrification Program, an initiative in the Community Benefit Sharing Program (CBSP) for the 15MW Tina River Hydropower Project in the Solomon Islands, has received overwhelming support during community consultation and awareness sessions held last week, the project developer has announced.

Sessions were held by officers from Solomon Power’s (SP) planning department and the CBSP team to provide residents in the Bahomea region an important update on the progress of the 11kV feeder distribution line that is set to be built in 2021.

The Rural Electrification Program forms a part of the CBSP component 2b aimed at funding community investments in water supply and electricity infrastructure as preliminary benefits to the host communities before the hydropower development is operational. As a part of this component, a feeder line will be constructed to run from a connection point at Black Post road all the way to Tina Village spanning an 8-9km stretch, enabling access to power for villages from Marava, Ngogoti, Rate school, Horohotu 1 & 2, Tina village and surrounding communities.

Currently, none of the targeted beneficiary households are connected to SP’s electricity grid in Honiara. During the consultations, the team explained how the feeder line will make it easy for households to purchase service lines to connect to their homes, benefiting approximately 300 people living in these remote communities. Officers also took the opportunity to explain the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the proposed project and consent was acquired from the three communities directly along the route from Marava, Horohotu and Tina communities.

CEO of Solomon Power Pradip Verma said he is excited to see this essential infrastructure be constructed in 2021. “This Rural Electrification Program is much more than a construction Project and building another a feeder line," he said. "Bringing power to people is life changing. We hope that with access to electricity, economic activities in the area can be boosted as well as other indirect benefits.”

The CBSP program will also finance the costs of the service lines and in-house wiring for Rate School and Konga Health Centre. The Rural Electrification Program will be implemented solely by Solomon Power (SP) and is expected to take approximately 12 months to construct.

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