The American Samoan island of Ta’u — located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, around 2,600 miles from Hawaii and around 4,800 miles from the US mainland — is now running on 100% solar electricity, according to a new tweet from Tesla and an email from SolarCity to CleanTechnica.
The island of 600 is now home to 1.4 megawatts (MW) of solar energy generation capacity (5,328 SolarCity solar panels) and 6 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy storage capacity (60 Tesla Powerpacks). Notably, the project took less than a year to develop and implement.
This island in American Samoa now runs on nearly 100% solar energy thanks to 5,300+ solar panels & 60 Tesla Powerpacks pic.twitter.com/65Jm8rvXs9
— Tesla (@Tesla) November 22, 2016
Previous to the solar photovoltaic (PV) + energy storage installation, the island of Ta’u had been reliant upon imported diesel fuel, as many small islands are — not a cheap situation to be in. So, while a combination of solar PV and energy storage isn’t exactly cheap at this point, it is often a very good choice for small island communities (if initial funding can be found).
In this case, funding was provided by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to Tesla and SolarCity, the newly created island microgrid allows for 24/7 electricity availability — with no power outages and no bottlenecking.
To provide an idea of the island in question, for those who can’t watch the video, it’s around 17 square miles in size, has a single road, and is of volcanic origin. In other words, it’s a nearly ideal place to demonstrate a SolarCity + Tesla microgrid such as the one that’s been installed — not to mention to drive a pollution-free electric car.
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