The South Pacific island running entirely on solar power

US technology firm Tesla has installed a solar micro-grid on the island of Tau in American Samoa, nearly ending the island’s dependence on fossil fuels.

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Image: American Samoa Power Authority

The announcement came days after Tesla’s acquisition of the American solar installation company, Solar City, and means that the residents of Tau have almost made the transition to 100% clean energy, having previously relied on fossil fuels.

The island ran on diesel generators which used over 100,000 gallons of fuel per year, and the new installation is one of the world’s most advanced microgrids.

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The grid is made up of nearly 5,400 solar panels, with a generation capacity of 1.4 MW. Additionally, the photovoltaic cells are connected to 60 Tesla Powerpack units. The Powerpack is an advanced battery storage system, originally developed for use in Tesla Motors electric cars. The unit is effectively a rechargeable battery which can store electricity generated by the solar panels, reaching full charge in around seven hours.

The Tesla Powerpacks in the Tau grid have a combined 6 MW hours of storage, which means that they are capable of storing and providing energy even when the photovoltaic grid does not receive enough sunlight to meet energy demand across the island – up to a maximum of three days, if adverse weather or other conditions cause lower energy generation.

The project, which took just one year to complete, means that the island now has a dependable, clean source of energy.

You can watch a short video on Tesla and Solar City’s microgrid project in Tau below:

US technology firm Tesla, which has been manufacturing electric cars since 2012, is hoping to shift the dialogue on renewable energy. Founder Elon Musk is committed, through his company goals, to reduce global warming by investing in renewable energy technology.

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Tesla’s commitment to sustainable energy and travel has seen the company branch into several subdivisions including Tesla Glass, which is working on a new type of glass which will be used in future Solar City roof tiles and Tesla electric cars.

The company has also partnered with business across Europe and the US, providing high-powered electric car charging points at hotels, restaurants and shopping centres, as well as working alongside Airbnb to provide electric car chargers at certain destinations in California.

You can read more about Solar City’s projects on their blog, and more about Tesla here.