IUCN helps bank gear up for eco-friendly loans
04 July 2013 | Article
Over the next seven months, IUCN Oceania will run a training programme to enable the Tonga Development Bank (TDB) to issue loans for solar systems to small businesses. This is a crucial step in setting up the first eco-friendly loan for the Kingdom.
Activities kick-started with an inception meeting held in Nukualofa, the capital of Tonga, on June 17 bringing together key participants from TDB, Tonga Power Limited, Tonga Energy Road Map Implementation Unit and representatives from hardware suppliers and electrical firms.
"This meeting was for introductory purposes and to inform participants of our expectations," said Ifereimi Dau, Energy Programme Officer at IUCN Oceania.
The training programme is intended for personnel at the TDB who will be responsible for promoting and processing the eco-friendly loan. "This training will help TDB in two ways. One is to help the staff understand energy-related terminology. This will help them promote the loan packages. And two, to assist TDB in identifying the various loan packages they can offer later on," added Dau.
The target customers for this loan scheme are small business owners. Dau says that "the aim is for these small businesses to reduce their operational costs by installing solar systems that are connected to the main electricity grid maintained by Tonga Power Limited”.
Grid-connected solar systems are not new in Tonga. About nine such systems are already in operation at schools and a bed and breakfast. "For interested small businesses, the systems they will install are at a smaller scale than what is installed in schools," clarified Dau.
The project will focus on the island of Tongatapu where the capital Nuku'alofa is located and is home to nearly 13, 000 households.
Financial support for the project is provided by the UNEP Climate Finance Innovation Facility.
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