Tesla acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion and it did not waste time to show off the power of Solar energy by announcing a major project. Tesla has unveiled its plans that it will be running the Ta’u island on Solar power micro-grid which will produce 1.4 megawatts, which will be nearly enough to power total electrical needs of the island in American Samoa. The 60 Tesla Powerpacks offer a huge 6 megawatt-hours of power storage. There are also more than 5 thousand solar panels. The island generally gets a lot of Sun, but yet the packs can keep the power running for three straight days on a cloudy day without any power outages.
The switch to solar took one year to finish and it has any immediate and long-term benefits for the environment. Ta’u belongs to one of the remote areas, located more than 4,000 miles from the West Coast of the US, which have to run on diesel generators. The generators burn around 300 gallons of fuel each day, and it hurts the environment a lot added to the fact that it is very costly. Meanwhile, solar power produces no pollution as well as saves on the cost of buying diesel containers, which is especially costlier for an island. Tesla said in a blog post that it will offset Ta’u’s use of more than 109,500 gallons of diesel each year. It is also difficult because there might have been times when diesel may not have been shipped on time which results in no electricity. But solar is more reliable and people will get power always.
The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Interior. But in a larger scheme of things, Ta’u is just an experiment as it has very idealistic conditions. The weather is extremely suitable, and the area has a meagre population of only 600 people who themselves are happy with little anyway. It is an undeniable fact that in order to provide power for a bigger town or a city will require a lot more added to changes in climatic and geographical conditions. Ta’u is a good example of global warming can be witnessed firsthand easily on islands because of beach erosion and many other changes. But a start is a start nonetheless, a beginning of a world cleaner renewable energy and free of fossil fuels.