Independence of Ta’u Island thanks to solar energy
Living on a remote, cut off from the World Island is not easy. Meeting the basic needs of the inhabitants confronts many challenges and is dependent on external supplies. People of Ta’u, an Insland on the American Samoa, about everyday islands problems know best. Keith Ahsoon, a local resident, mentions times when ships did not hit the shore even for two moths.
“We rely on that boat for everything, including importing diesel for the generators for all of our electricity. Once diesel gets low, we try to save it by using it only for mornings and afternoons. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the village uses and depends on that. It’s hard to live not knowing what’s going to happen. I remember growing up using candlelight. And now, in 2016, we were still experiencing the same problems.”
However, solar energy has changed life on Ta’u Island completely. Thanks to a microgrid with 1,4MW of solar generation capacity and 6MWh of battery storage, residents of Ta’u gained the energy independence. Composed of 5328 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks, the farm cover nearly 100% of the island’s energy requirements for 3 days without the sun, and batteries fully recharge in about 7h.
Moreover, thanks to energy generated from the sun, the inhabitants will gain massive savings in diesel, used to generators, which used to power the island. The amount of diesel savings is estimated at about 109,5tys gallons per year.
Photovoltaic is not just the clean energy without pollution, but also security and stability. Awareness, that the island of Ta’u will not run out of electricity, gave its residents, hospitals, schools and public establishments sense of security they previously could not afford.