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SolarCity Powers Up Kauai With Tesla; Elon Musk Could Solve Australian Power Woes in 100 Days Or It's Free


The most practical places to install solar panels are areas where there is an abundance of sunlight, such as islands in the Pacific. Tesla installed a SolarCity solar farm on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Tesla and SolarCity Power Up Kauai

It was logical for Tesla to build such a facility on Kauai for it has an abundance of sunlight for most of the year. However, the drawback is that solar energy can only be used when the sun is shining. Nighttime power is augmented by burning fossil fuels to power its electric grid, consuming millions of gallons annually, until now.

Tesla's Kauai installation consists of 13 MW SolarCity solar farm composed of 54,978 panels. Solar power is stored in 272 Tesla Powerpack 2 batteries, capable of storing 52 MWh energy. Solar energy is collected by Tesla's solar panels and stored in the Powerpacks, ready to be discharged for use at night.

Tesla and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), that by using solar energy, the island of Kauai can save up to 1.6 million gallons of fossil fuel usage annually, according to The Verge. Tesla's Powerpack 2 battery system used on the island was built at its Gigafactory in Nevada, USA.

Tech Crunch reported that the SolarCity solar farm in Kauai could yield 19,438 MWh of electricity annually; it can store up to 52 MWh of power daily. Previously, the island state does not have a massive grid as the mainland has to pull electricity from sources hundreds of miles away. Hence, KUIC's tie in with Tesla takes care of its own energy solutions.

KIUC does not own the installation; it has, however, entered into a contract with Tesla to purchase electricity. Accordingly, solar-generated power will be bought by KIUC for a fixed price of 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour for the next 20 years, which marks Tesla's entry into the power generating business, official.

South Australia Power Crisis

Meanwhile, in related news, South Australia is currently having an energy problem. Power shortages have been causing blackouts across the state. Seeing an opportunity, Tesla decided to pitch in its stake to solve the energy problem.

Lyndon Rive, Tesla vice president of energy products announced that the company could solve South Australia's energy problem within 100 days by installing grid-connected battery packs. The offer was even sweetened further by Tesla chief executive Elon Musk. When asked by Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes on Twitter how serious he is, Musk replied they would do it within 100 days from contract signing or it is free.

UPDATE: Musk has spoken with South Australia Premier, Jay Weatherhill. He says he is very impressed and that SA government is committed to a smart, quick solution.

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