Recognising that access to affordable, safe and reliable electricity in Vanuatu is a major development need for the country and with over 20,000 households, 200 aid posts and 2,000 not-for-profit community halls located in areas where access to grid electricity is uneconomic. The Phase 1 of the Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project (VREP) is aimed at increasing access to basic lighting and phone charging capabilities using subsidised 5-30 watts ‘Plug and Play’ solar systems. Products approved are subsidised at 50% of the retail prices in 2016 with the subsidy planned to decrease in the years thereafter.
VREP’s products are those approved under Lighting Global Standards and submitted by approved vendors. Currently, there are two (2) vendors – Power & Communications Solution (PCS) Limited and e-Tech Limited. Both companies are approved local companies and currently selling lighting products to consumers throughout Vanuatu. Products purchased under the subsidy provided by VREP come with warranty as a safeguard for any system failures of the system. Disposal of the batteries is also aimed to be managed effective under the Vanuatu legislations.
VREP 1 is funded through a grant of US$4.7m from the New Zealand Government. Management of the Project is through Vanuatu’s Department of Energy with implementation support from the World Bank. A Program Manager has been recruited by the Department of Energy to manage the Project on the Department’s behalf and supported by an Independent Verification Agent (IVA) funded through the Project. Other technical consultants are recruited on needs basis to support the implementation of the Project.
Through the products subsidised by the Project, it is hoped that households will have longer period of lighting for children to study, aid posts to open for services past daylight times and not-for-profit community halls to become more productively used.
The objective of the Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project (VREP) is to scale up access to electricity services for rural households, aid posts and not-for-profit community halls located in dispersed off-grid areas that are unlikely to have grid connection within the next four (4) years as per UNELCO and VUI’s grid extension plans.
VREP is available to households, community halls and aid posts located outside or within the concession areas that are not likely to have grid connection within the next four (4) years as per UNELCO and VUI’s grid extension plan. VREP’s target is 17,500 households, 2,000 not-for-profit community halls and 230 aid posts. .
The Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project (VREP) Phase 1 seeks to provide access of basic electricity services to consumers for whom grid system is unlikely to be economical using a subsidy mechanism of ‘plug and play’ solar systems and utilising the local electricity retailers in country. The Project’s target is 17,500 households, 230 aid posts and 2,000 not-for-profit community halls unable to access affordable, safe and healthy electricity and located outside or within the concession areas that are not likely to have grid connection within the next four (4) years as per UNELCO and VUI’s grid extension plans. The Project was signed in 2014 and is expected to be completed in December 2019.
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