Tokelau is a New Zealand territory made up of three coral atolls — coral reef based islands — in the Pacific.
"The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project is a world first. Tokelau’s three main atolls now have enough solar capacity, on average, to meet electricity needs," Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said in a release on the official website of the New Zealand Government.
The population of 1,500 people were using 2,000 barrels of diesel a year to power generators for heir electricity — costing the islands $825,000 a year.
"Electricity expenses make up a huge portion of their budget in Tokelau, which makes it hard for them to invest and look toward the future, so there’s a very clear financial argument for this system," said Michael Bassett-Smith, managing director of PowerSmart Solar, New Zealand’s largest solar power company, which directed the project.