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Tesla Just Powered An Entire Pacific Island With Solar Energy

SolarCity, now

of Tesla, is powering a tiny island in American Samoa with only solar energy, SolarCity said in a blog post on Tuesday.

The island of Ta’u, home to around 600 residents, is some 4,000 miles off the West Coast of the United States and has been using diesel generators for power up till now.

SolarCity and Tesla have developed a microgrid of 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity and 6 megawatt hours of battery storage courtesy of 60 Tesla Powerpacks. The solar power and battery-storage enabled microgrid is capable of meeting almost 100 percent of the island’s power demand from renewable sources, SolarCity said.

The project – financed by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Interior - is planned to replace the use of more than 109,500 gallons of diesel annually, and cut costs for fuel and transportation.

The system consists of 5,328 solar panels and can ensure that the island remains powered for 3 full days without sun, SolarCity’s presentation says.

A few weeks before the vote on the Tesla-SolarCity merger was scheduled, Elon Musk unveiled one of his latest ideas: solar roofs along with the Powerwall 2.0. Musk plans to make roofs entirely out of solar panels instead of installing them on top of buildings afterward. Musk hopes to power homes in the day with his solar roofs and then charge Tesla cars at night, all using the Powerwall 2.0. Musk’s vision isn’t to simply redesign one or two houses; he aims to transform every house and likely abandon the conventional power grid.

SolarCity boasting of powering a tiny remote sunny island is one thing. Another thing is whether Musk’s visions and technologies for the mass market will see the light of day.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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