The island of Ta’u of the American Samoa is now entirely 100% green and self-sufficient in energy supply with more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs. Located 4,000 miles from the United States, Ta’u has depended on diesel barrels shipped from the main island of Tutuila to survive, using it to power homes, government buildings and public utilities. Tutuila has subsidized Ta’u diesel shipments for decades, however bad weather often prevent ferry docking, creating frequent diesel supply gaps and hinders local economic progress. In addition, the diesel ships run the risk of serious environmental disaster of the delivery ships capsize during the journey.
With assistance from Tesla and SolarCity, a renewable energy microgrid was build for Ta’u as a priority test site. All of American Samoa is expected to be solar-powered by 2040. The Ta’u microgrid could provide a working model for other Pacific island countries to study, as most get 6 to 8 sunshine hours a day or 1,000 watts per square meter.
The power bills of the Ta’u islanders remain the same, around US$80-100 per month for an average household, but the reliability and self-sufficiency of the new system had been a cause of celebration on this remote outpost, with neighbours Ofu and Olosega islands planning to follow suit by Christmas.
Source: The Guardian