Short Bytes: The Tesla-acquired SolarCity has made commendable efforts to change the diesel-dependant lives of the people in Ta’u island in American Samoa. They have set up a 1.4 MW solar microgrid which provides uninterrupted electricity to the 600 local residents.The island of Ta’u in American Samoa falls somewhere in the pacific ocean. The remote island was largely dependent on cargo ships to fulfill their basic need of generator-powered electricity – consuming 109,500 gallons of diesel a year – and other machines like motor boats, water pumps.
There was a time when the people living in Ta’u had concerns about the scarcity of diesel and they had to limit the use of generators. The island now uses 100 percent solar energy, thanks to the inputs of SolarCity Corp – acquired by Elon Musk’s company, Tesla Motors.
The solar microgrid – having 5,328 solar panels – installed by SolarCity can generate 1.4 megawatts of electricity. It is stored in 60 Tesla Powerpacks which provide 6-megawatt hours of battery-based energy storage. This is fit for the 600 residents of Ta’u to live their daily lives peacefully. The sun-dependant system can store enough energy to supply uninterrupted power for three days in cloudy weather.
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Other than eliminating people’s dependence on fossil fuel, the solar system has also helped in cutting costs incurred during transportation of diesel. Moreover, it doesn’t cause any harm to the environment, unlike the diesel-powered engines, eventually reducing the impact of global warming.
Solar power is a promising renewable energy solution having benefits in the long-run. The world has started to realize the need for such alternatives. However, the energy consumption is on the rise and solutions like these need to be more efficient in order to feed a larger population.
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