The fight for a planet powered by renewable energy is one with many small victories, and the people of Ta’u, American Samoa can claim their win.
Following Tesla’s acquisition of the solar manufacturer Solar City, it decided to flex its proverbial muscle by transitioning the island of Ta’u to nearly 100% solar energy.
5,328 solar panels hooked into a microgrid producing a total of 1.4 megawatts is what it took to make the switch. Residents of Ta’u often used polluting diesel generators to power their homes. The island went through about 300 gallons of the fuel each day, which wasn’t cheap or environmentally friendly.
Before Tesla stepped in, locals had to ration electricity, and if one of their shipments of diesel wasn’t on time, power outages follow. Now, they can count on electricity all the time, and without the air pollution.
I get what you’re probably thinking. “But American Samoa is such a sunny place! What happens when the sun goes down?” Tesla had a plan for that.
60 Tesla Powerpacks were deployed to the island allowing 6 megawatt-hours of energy to be stored, enough for about 3 days of backup energy.
The switch to solar power took about a year, but the financial and environmental benefits were almost immediately recognized.
Ta’u represented the best place to roll out a test of Tesla’s hardware. Its weather is ideal and it has fewer than 600 residents that don’t use a lot of juice to begin with. Converting cities or entire nations over to a system like this would be considerably more challenging.
But it’s still a good example of what can be done. Tesla’s primary mission is to get humans off fossil fuels for good, and Ta’u shows us that it can be done without sacrificing anything.