The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Nauru have signed a $22m (£17.8m) grant for a solar power project in Nauru, Australia.

The facility is expected to deliver reliable, affordable, secure and sustainable solar energy to help meet the socio-economic development needs of the Pacific island nation.

The Government of Nauru will initially contribute $4.98m (£4m) for the project.

The project is one of a series of renewable energy projects being financed by ADB’s Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility, which was developed in response to the growing demand from the region for energy finance.

The project is expected to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Nauru Utilities Corporation by training staff in the operation and management of the solar plant and the battery energy storage system. It will also support gender-mainstreaming efforts and provide project implementation assistance.

The project is also expected to provide 100% grid-connected electricity supply to the people of Nauru during daylight hours.

The grant agreement was signed by ADB director-general for the Pacific Carmela Locsin and Nauru’s Minister of Finance and ADB governor Martin Hunt in ADB’s headquarters in Manila.

Locsin said: “Nauru currently relies heavily on imported diesel fuel for power generation.

“The Solar Power Development Project will reduce diesel dependency and help boost the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources from 3.0% to 47%.”

Construction of 6MW solar plant and 2.5MWh, 5MW battery energy storage system

The project includes the construction of a 6MW grid-connected solar power plant and a 2.5MWh, 5MW battery energy storage system to supply continuous power even when solar energy is interrupted by cloud cover.

The system will be fully automated and integrated with the existing diesel system to optimise solar energy use, enable optimal battery energy storage system charging and discharging, and allow optimal shut-off of the diesel engines, which will reduce Nauru’s reliance on diesel for power generation and decrease production costs.

Recently, the ADB has approved a $348.78m (£283m) grant to help in the development of water resources in Kandahar province through the expansion of Dahla Dam, the country’s second largest dam.