Ta'u, America Samoa – In what is a sure sign of things to come, Tesla and SolarCity have wired an entire island, Ta'u in America Samoa, to run on solar energy. After Tesla completed a $2.6 billion acquisition of Solar City this week, the company announced their most stunning solar project to date.
Over the past year, Tesla has installed a solar energy microgrid, comprised of 5,328 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpack batteries for energy storage on the island – previously the island ran off diesel fuel generators. The company claims that the solar energy system will supply "nearly 100 percent" of the energy needs for the islands 600 residents.
"The microgrid, which only took one year to build, features 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity (or 5,328 solar panels) and 6 megawatt hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. An estimated 109,500 gallons of diesel will be offset per year," according to EcoWatch.
The microgrid is operated by American Samoa Power Authority and was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior.
The ambitious project is meant to show exactly why the SolarCity acquisition was a smart move, as Elon Musk has a larger "Master Plan" to integrate clean energy and storage – a move that could completely change the world's current energy paradigm. The move was lampooned by many market analysts as too risky for Tesla, due to SolarCity's lack of profitability, which currently only makes $1 revenue for every $6 spent – but those analysts are most likely not visionary thinkers like Musk.
Reports indicate that the microgrid will allow the island to maintain full power for three days without any sunlight, and a full recharging capacity time of seven hours.