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Elon Musk's Tesla Powers American Samoan Island With Solar Energy

By Rose C
Nov 28, 2016 06:59 AM EST
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The Ta'u Island in American Samoa in now completely run with Tesla power packs. In a tweet published Tuesday, Tesla Motors announced that the island now runs on nearly 100 percent solar energy, thanks to more than 5,300 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks.

After the successful $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity in Nov. 21, Tesla utilized SolarCity's microgrid system to provide sustainable solutions to energy generation. Before the introduction of solar energy, the island used to rely on 109,500 gallons of diesel per year or $8 million in fuel costs.

Ta'ū is the largest island in the Manu'a Group and the easternmost volcanic island of the Samoan Islands. With only 600 residents, they used to depend on imported oil from the U.S., Asia, Central America, and Australia to run its generators. Now, the island can have electricity 24/7 with 1.4 megawatts (MW) of solar energy generation capacity (5,328 SolarCity solar panels) and 6 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage capacity (60 Tesla Powerpacks).

The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency. A report from Business Insider stated how the project promotes cleaner energy sources in Dubai and Hawaii. With this new technology, the residents in the area hope to decrease the global carbon footprint around the globe.

In a Tesla blog post, local resident Keith Ahsoon explained that the project "will help lessen the carbon footprint of the world." Originally run on diesel, the burning fuel through generators are seen as bad for the environment and are expensive due to the fluctuating oil and gas markets.

"Living on an island, you experience global warming firsthand. Beach erosions 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," Ahsoon added.

Last October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted how the acquisition aims to make solar and storage as compelling as electric vehicles to advance the world's transition to sustainable energy. Musk further described the acquisition as part of his "master plan," a fully sustainable energy covering transportation (Tesla EVs), energy generation (SolarCity), and energy storage (Tesla's Powerwall).

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