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Tonga launches world’s first solar powered Tuk Tuk

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Sinaitakala Tuku’aho has launched the world’s first solar powered Tuk Tuk aimed to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and the cost of transportation.

Solar Powered Tuk-Tuk is the first activity of the Mobile Applications of Solar Initiative (MASI) Project funded through a partnership between Kirchner Solar Group (the biggest installer in Germany) and the local Solar Island Technology (SIT) Ltd with close collaboration with the Energy Department under the Ministry of MEIDECC.

Acting CEO for MEIDECC Mr. Andrew To’imoana said the launching of solar powered Tuk Tuk would boost the economy and the transformation of Tonga’s fragile physical environment and ecosystem.

“The introduction of Tuk Tuk will obviously help speed up the transformation not only the economic landscape and the fragile physical environment and ecosystem,” he said.

“This private initiative falls right in the framework of the Tonga Energy Road Map initiative, a policy instrument that guides us to the most effective way that Government and Private Sector intervene and disrupt the status quo and the no longer acceptable business as usual mode of operation.”

At the heart of this policy regime is a directive that over the period 2010 – 2020, Tonga has to achieve a target of having 50% of its electricity supply generated from renewable sources.”

To’imoana said that Tonga’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions aimed to achieve 70% access to renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2035, under the country’s Climate Change Policy Framework.

According to To’imoana attempts were made in the past to introduce the use of biofuel for Tonga’s transportation sector and the striving for a cleaner energy would not come without costs.

“In the past, great efforts were made to introduce biofuel usage in transportation sector of Tonga and the Pacific Region. It is obvious that these transformations to cleaner energy in the Transportation will not come without sacrifice, it’ll not come without costs, and it cannot happen overnight, but it is possible.”

To’imoana congratulated Dr. Mueller and the Solar Island Technology as well as Mr. Lars Kirchner from Germany’s Kirchner Solar Group for their accomplishment and wonderful innovation.

“Your engagement in assembling and constructing these so-called first solar Tuk Tuk in the world here in Tonga has given Tonga a history to be proud of.”

Founder of Solar Island Technology Ltd Dr. Luka Mueller said that it took two years to complete the initiative.

“This is the phase one of this project, phase 2 will be bigger, because it is far more educated and knowledge involved technical detail about speed, power and the possibility of the use of such solar Tuk- Tuk.”

Owner of the Kirchner Solar Group in Germany Mr. Lars Kirchner said they were very convinced to implement the first solar powered tuk-tuk in the Pacific.

“In the last two years, we were sitting here in the front of Sea View (Lodge) and we were talking about what we can do for Tonga. It took only two and half days to assemble the first attempt of tuk-tuk which is over my expectation, as I thought it will took two weeks to assemble the first tuk-tuk,” he said.

“From there we were very convinced to implement the first tuk-tuk here in the Pacific which we are launching today.”

Mr. Kirchner noted that in the next few months they would try to find out what Tonga needs in regard to the tuk-tuk.

“We will try to adjust it according to your need and I think in the next few months we are going to aid the program here not only with the assembly but also with the production of the technical parts of tuk-tuk.”

The Solar Powered Tuk Tuk is part of the transportation sector project and other mobile applications using solar energy.

The initiative is intended to replace and reduce the consumption of fossil fuel as energy source, lessen the cost of transportation and other commercial applications, improve the economic situation of the local population and implement sustainable means of transport and other commercial applications with a positive impact of the overall reduction of CO2 emissions.

Photo Twitter by HE Andrew Ford  / Press Release
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