Remote island goes green with solar grid

A remote island in American Samoa has adopted renewable power. Ta’u has installed solar panels, battery storage and a 1.4MW micro-grid to supply nearly 100% of its energy needs. The island’s 600 residents previously relied on diesel […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A remote island in American Samoa has adopted renewable power.

Ta’u has installed solar panels, battery storage and a 1.4MW micro-grid to supply nearly 100% of its energy needs.

The island’s 600 residents previously relied on diesel generators to produce electricity, which were expensive, noisy and unreliable. Homes, schools, hospital and businesses grew used to rationing power until their next shipment of fuel and often suffered inconvenient power outages.

The new system is said to be much cheaper, more reliable and saves 109,500 gallons of diesel each year.

Roughly 6MWh of battery storage from 60 Tesla power-packs means solar energy can be saved up during the day and used in the evening and at night.

The SolarCity and Tesla technology means islanders will have stable power costs for decades, with none of the price fluctuation of the fossil fuel market.

Keith Ahsoon lives and runs a shop on the island. He said: “It’s always sunny out here and harvesting that energy from the sun will make me sleep a lot more comfortably at night, just knowing I’ll be able to serve my customers.

“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 firsthand. Beach erosion 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.”