Tesla’s SolarCity Powers an Entire Island with Solar Panels and BatteriesBy Beth Golden
Tesla and SolarCity though fresh from their union has actually been busy with other things like powering the island of Ta'u in the American Samoa by generating 1.4 megawatts of energy with their microgrid.
The microgrid developed by SolarCity has 60 Tesla Powerpacks, the company's large commercial battery with 6 megawatt hours of battery storage. These batteries can be fully charged with only 7 hours of daylight from 5,300 solar panels.
The microgrid facility can power the island of 600 residents for 3 full days at maximum capacity. It is reported to save the island 109,500 gallons of diesel per year or $8 million in fuel costs.
The island of Ta'u in the American Samoa located 4,000 miles of the U.S. West Coast used to rely on diesel fueled generators for power. It was costly, not environment-friendly and unstable since fuel deliveries can be delayed.
The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior and operated by the American Samoa Power Authority. Tesla and SolarCity were also able to deliver the microgrid facility in under a year.
Now, with the Powerpacks in place, the island has a powersource onsite and will not rely on deliveries. Schools, businesses, a hospital, fire and police stations will be using energy generated from the new clean energy source.
Tesla officially acquired SolarCity early this week for $2 billion. Elon Musk believes that there will be greater demand for clean and reliable energy source in the future than his Tesla electric cars.
As part of their energy offerings, the company will be selling an at-home battery called Powerwall 2 and they are also rumored to be developing a solar roof.
With this Tesla and SolarCity hopes that others see the possibility of what can happen with using solar energy. Other projects lined up for Tesla on this side of the business include powering the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i.
The company will also build the largest lithium ion battery storage project in the world, a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack System for Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation.