The 333-island archipelago is located east of New Zealand and Australia and southwest of Hawaii, with only about 100 islands inhabited. The entire population is less than 900,000.
Renewable energy has been developing in Fiji for some time now. In fact, the Fiji government has adopted a Strategic Development Plan as part of its ambitious goal to become a 100% renewable energy power-reliant by 2011. There are several reasons why the government is promoting non-fossil fuel based resources:
- Less expensive
- More convenient
- Easier to install and maintain
- Infrastructure needs are usually minimal
- Smaller carbon footprint – i.e. more environmentally friendly
Diesel costs have dramatically soared to over 200% over the last 4 years, yet 50% of electricity demand in Fiji is met by diesel generators. No wonder there is increasing usage of solar panels and wind energy there.
On Kadavu, south of the main island of Fiji, solar power is just about the only resource for turning on lights or using electricity. All of the cell towers are solar powered. The island is off-grid, which means you can only communicate with cell phones (where there is service) and wireless internet and other electrical-based uses are quite limited.
At Matava Fiji’s Premier Eco-Resort, electricity needs are minimal, given ample skylights, wide and open areas, and louvered windows that allow breezes to naturally cool the rooms. Most of the time, all electricity requirements are covered by the solar panels at the resort.