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Tesla converts Samoan island to 100% solar power
By Jerry Brownstein
The Samoan island of Ta‘u in the South Pacific has been chosen as a perfect example of how to combine solar energy with high capacity battery storage to bring sustainable energy to remote locations. The island had always relied on diesel generators to power their homes, shops and water pumps. Every year 500,000 litres of fuel had to be imported, and there were countless times when the supply boats didn’t arrive on time, forcing power outages throughout the island.
Elon Musk has recently merged his two companies, Tesla and Solar City, and together they are perfectly suited to transform the energy supply of places like Ta‘u. Tesla produces ‘Powerwall Batteries’ that can store large amounts of solar energy far better than conventional batteries. Solar City is one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of high tech solar panels. This combination of energy generation with energy storage can create self-sustaining communities as it has on Ta‘u. The island now has a 1.4-megawatt solar array that is more than enough to meet their energy requirements, and 60 Tesla Powerpacks that can store enough energy to power the island when there is not enough sun.
Tesla says that, “Ta’u is not a postcard from the future, it’s a snapshot of what is possible right now. Renewable power is an economical, practical solution for a growing number of locations and islands that can easily transition to microgrids powered by solar and storage.”