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Samoan island embraces solar technology

On Tuesday, US-based automaker and energy storage company, Tesla Motors, announced that American Samoa island, Ta’u, is almost entirely powered by solar technology.

The news follows as Tesla completed its acquisition of SolarCity on Monday, Climate Action reported.

“Elon Musk is the largest stakeholder in both firms and serves as Chief Executive of Tesla and Chairman of SolarCity.

“The $2.23 billion deal was intended to marry Tesla’s battery technology with SolarCity’s photovoltaic panels, creating a one-stop shop for zero-emissions cars and home energy systems,” Climate Action explained.

Solar technology provides sustainable future

The Ta’u island has around 785 residents and has faced frequent power outages in the past few years.

Installed within one year, the island boasts a 1.4MW micro-grid and combined with 60 Tesla Powerpacks has the capacity to store up to 6MWh of generated energy.

Climate Action reported that the micro-grid has the capacity to supply almost 100% of the island’s energy needs, “providing a cost-saving alternative to diesel and removing the hazards of power intermittency.”

Ta’u resident, Keith Ahsoon, said: “This is part of making history. This project will help lessen the carbon footprint of the world. Living on an island, you experience global warming first hand.

“Beach erosions and other noticeable changes are a part of life here. It’s a serious problem, and this project will hopefully set a good example for everyone else to follow.”

The project was funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the American Samoa Economic Development Authority.

According to the recently acquired SolarCity, the system is expected to offset 109,500 gallons of diesel per year.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.