23 November 2016

Tesla powers an entire island using solar energy

American automaker and energy storage company, Tesla Motors, announced on Tuesday that pacific island Ta’u, is now powered almost entirely from solar energy.

The island of Ta’u in American Samoa, located more than 4,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States, counts about 785 residents and has faced frequent power rationing and outages in recent years.

Ta’u now hosts a solar power and battery storage-enabled microgrid that can supply nearly 100 per cent of the island’s power needs from renewable energy, providing a cost-saving alternative to diesel and removing the hazards of power intermittency.

The microgrid features 1.4 MW of solar generation capacity and 6 MW hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks, and was installed within just one year.

According to SolarCity, the system is expected to offset 109,500 gallons of diesel per year.

Its benefits will be life-changing for the islanders as the local hospital, schools, emergency services and local businesses will no longer need to worry about power shortages or rationing.

Ta’u resident, Keith Ahsoon, said: “This is part of making history. This project will help lessen the carbon footprint of the world. Living on an island, you experience global warming first hand. Beach erosions and other noticeable changes are a part of life here. It’s a serious problem, and this project will hopefully set a good example for everyone else to follow.” 

The project was funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the American Samoa Economic Development Authority.

The news follows as Tesla completed its acquisition of SolarCity on Monday.

Elon Musk is the largest stakeholder in both firms and serves as Chief Executive of Tesla and Chairman of SolarCity.

The $2.23 billion deal was intended to marry Tesla’s battery technology with SolarCity’s photovoltaic panels, creating a one-stop shop for zero-emissions cars and home energy systems. 

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