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Close on the heels of a project that saw transfer of solar energy technology between an Indian community based alternative power generation initiative and communities in Tonga comes another high profile solar power demonstration.

Planet Solar, the world’s largest solar powered ocean going vessel will call on Nuku’alofa on April 10. The 31-metre Turanor, whose name is inspired by the Lord of the Rings film series, is on its first ever circumnavigation of the globe solely on solar power. It has already broken the record for the longest distance travelled by a solar powered vessel. The mission is to demonstrate that existing renewable energy technologies are reliable and effective.

Manned by a crew of four, the boat departed Monaco last September with a travel route crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal, Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Suez Canal before finally returning to the Mediterranean.

On its Pacific Islands leg, it will dock at Queen Salote Wharf  in Nuku’alofa for up to four days from April 10. A sustainable energy expo on April 12 and 13, organised by the government’s Tonga Energy Road map initiative will follow the ship’s official welcome by the Tongan government on April 11.

The event promises to be an interesting place to be for investors and entrepreneurs in the alternative energy sector.

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