How Tesla Powers an Entire Island with Only Solar Energy

Tesla this week revealed that it is running Ta’u, an island in American Samoa, on a solar energy microgrid that is covering “nearly 100%” of power needs.

Places like the 600-resident Ta’u, 4,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States, rarely have reliable, affordable power.

“I recall a time they weren’t able to get the boat out here for two months,” said Keith Ahsoon, a local resident. “We rely on that boat for everything, including importing diesel for the generators for all of our electricity. Once diesel gets low, we try to save it by using it only for mornings and afternoons. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the village uses and depends on that.”

SolarCity, now a component of Tesla, equipped the island with 5,300 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks, showing post-acquisition how the two companies carry natural synergy.

Its benefits are life changing for residents of Ta’u. The local hospital, high school and elementary schools, fire and police stations and local businesses no longer need to worry about outages or rationing. But the biggest advantage is cost: Tau’s microgrid replaces diesel generators with more affordable solar energy, and is designed to optimize system performance and maximize savings.

The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Interior, and is expected to offset the use of more than 109,500 gallons of diesel per year.

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