USP commissions new solar electric vehicle charging facility
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A first-of-its kind solar electric vehicle charging station for Fiji commissioned by the Ambassador of France to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Gilles Montagnier and the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra. Photo: Courtesy of the Fiji Times.
In its efforts to continue to tackle climate change impacts and to promote sustainable development through the use of renewable energy sources in the region, the University of the South Pacific in partnership with the Government of France commissioned a first-of-its kind solar electric vehicle charging station for Fiji.
The solar station was commissioned by the Ambassador of France to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Gilles Montagnier, and the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra at the University’s Laucala Campus on 7 August, 2012.
The project, funded by the Government of France under the French Fund for Economic, Social and Cultural Cooperation in the Pacific aims to support development projects impacting the South Pacific region.
With a total value of the project amounting to more than F$40,000, the Government of France further added to their contribution by donating two electric vehicles which will be used by the University’s security personnel.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, H. E. Mr Montagnier highlighted the seriousness of the threat posed by climate change in the Pacific region.
“By supporting such a project, we aim at developing and promoting alternative sources of energy, contributing therefore in mitigating the effects of climate change in the region,” he elaborated.
The Ambassador explained that renewable energies should be considered from an economic perspective as a solution to the rising cost of fuel and its impacts on island nations.
He stressed the need to promote alternative, sustainable and affordable sources of energy for all.
“USP as the leading research centre in the South Pacific is the best institution to carry out such projects. I am glad to be able to support USP and the youth of the South Pacific in the development of the skills and capacities,” he added.
The solar station will also be used within the different curricula of the School of Engineering and Physics (SEP) at USP, in order to give a practical example of a solar station to the students studying its functions.
In his remarks, Professor Rajesh Chandra acknowledged the ongoing support that the Government of France has been providing to USP over the years in many different areas.
“In some areas the assistance by the French Government has been seminal, in a sense that the assistance from France was important in starting something that we are still continuing,” said Professor Chandra, referring to the University’s Journalism Programme.
He shared that USP has always benefitted from the generosity of the Government of France in promoting French language and culture and recently supporting a lot of scientific areas as well through collaboration with French institutions in the region.
“This area of renewable energy that you are funding is an area in which the region has a lot of interest but it is also an area in which USP as a scientific institution can help by doing research, benchmarking and quality control and conducting training,” he mentioned.
Professor Chandra stated that renewable energy is an area that the University would like the Government of France to continue and expand their assistance.
The event was facilitated by the School of Engineering and Physics (SEP) of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment.
Another similar renewable energy project funded by the French Government and undertaken by the University under the leadership of the Head of SEP, Dr Atul Raturi, focuses on replacing kerosene or benzene lights with solar lights.
These solar lights are made available to different communities in Fiji through a micro-credit fund, which has a direct impact on the economy of these communities, enabling them to experience the benefit of direct application of the development of the solar technology in Fiji and the region.
The commissioning was well attended by representatives of the French embassy, members of the diplomatic corps, international organizations, government officials, University staff and students and the media.