SolarCity Powers Entire U.S. Island With Solar Energy

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By Editors of Power Engineering

SolarCity announced the company has constructed a solar power and battery storage-enabled microgrid with nearly 100 percent of all electricity on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa.

The microgrid, which has a generation capacity of 1.4 MW and 6 MW/h of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks, was developed and constructed in one year.

Previously, the island used diesel fuel as their main source of power, though that lead to rapid price fluctuations, power rationing and outages for the island’s nearly 600 residents.

“I recall a time they weren’t able to get the boat out here for two months,” said Keith Ahsoon, a local resident whose family owns one of the food stores on the island, on the SolarCity blog. “We rely on that boat for everything, including importing diesel for the generators for all of our electricity.”

“Once diesel gets low, we try to save it by using it only for mornings and afternoons. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the village uses and depends on that. It’s hard to live not knowing what’s going to happen. I remember growing up using candlelight. And now, in 2016, we were still experiencing the same problems.”

SolarCity noted the project, which is operated by the American Samoa Power Authority, will offset over 109,500 gallons of diesel fuel use per year, eliminating both the transportation issues as well as carbon emissions.

SolarCity merged with Tesla this year in an all-stock transaction worth $2.6 billion. 

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