Tesla announces the completion of a major solar power project.
Tesla recently merged with SolarCity, America’s largest provider of solar power services, and the new collaboration already has cause to celebrate. Tesla announced earlier this week that they had completed a solar energy project on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. “This island in American Samoa now runs on nearly 100% solar energy thanks to 5,300+ solar panels & 60 Tesla Powerpacks” announced the company via Twitter. The “Ta’u microgrid” is an energy system which combines solar energy with batteries, and is powered by a 1.4MW solar array. The 60 Tesla Powerpacks connected to the array is able to churn out 6MWh, and can power the entire island for three full days without sun. Seven hours of sunlight is enough to recharge them again.
Previously, the island relied on diesel generators which consumed as much as 380,000 liters of fuel annually to provide power for its 600 residents. The costs of transporting fuel alone was sizable, eating up a majority of the island’s energy budget. With the microgrid in place, which was also funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Interior, Ta’u can expect to save a lot of money on energy costs in the coming years.
The project serves both as an example of the benefit of microgrids for remote communities, but also helps promote initiatives towards cleaner forms of energy. “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 energy needs, and islands that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels can easily transition to microgrids powered by solar and storage today.” said SolarCity in an announcement.
Tesla isn’t alone in its push for solar power. Dubai is currently undertaking efforts to expand its use of solar power, and scientists in China have even discovered a way to make solar panels effective during rain by drawing energy from chemical reactions with the natural salts contained in the water.