Tesla powers an entire island with solar energy and battery storage

Just days after Tesla announced acquisition of SolarCity, it didn’t waste any time to make another announcement of that it just powered an entire island.


The company ran a solar energy micro-grid on American Samoa’s Ta’u Island using over 5,328 solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks. The entire system, at 1.4 megawatts, that offers 6 megawatt-hours of energy storage, can collect solar power and store it for up to 3 days.

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It took the entire island one year to complete the switch over to solar power, which should be enough to keep them powered 24/7.

The Island of Ta’u with its paradise-like weather and a population of fewer than 600 residents with relatively modest power needs, was previously powered using diesel fuel generator, that burns 300 gallons of fuel per day, which is neither eco-friendly nor cheap.

So this switch is a much welcomed eco-alternative.

Although Tesla considers this project a small test, it has demonstrated the possibilities and feasibility of micro-grids in a much larger way.

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  1. Hello…great story….today. The 600 residents now have a mortgage for the future. The cost of the project likely be in excess of $10 Million. I wonder how they will carry the cost? In another 5-7 years they will be faced with replacement of the Powerpacks at a cost of over $500,000.00. How has the living standard of these folks been affected? Their energy use currently noted as “modest”. Have we interfered in their idyllic lifestyle that has been in place for 100’s perhaps 1000’s of years? Yes energy is useful and we can do much with it. I trust they will find their way to an improved lifestyle.

    1. Those are great questions, @terrynother:disqus. I wonder if “we” interfered with their idyllic lifestyle with the first power-grid? I mean how could they possibly have carried that cost? I wonder how they dealt with maintenance and operations of such dead and dying diesel generators for the last few decades? I can only imagine that they some how managed to assess their situation and conclude that the risk was worth the reward of marching on toward the 21st century like the rest of us. Seems self-evident to me that their decades old decision to develop into the 20th century worked out OK as well. The cost of progress.

      1. Hi Layerdown….I agree that moving forward with progress, I am just not sure the approach is best option. I too promote renewables and support capital expenditures. I do focus more on the operational & carrying side. I trust that in five to ten years these folks will still be satified paying the bills.

  2. @ Terry Nother,
    Yes, it is important to think about the replenishing power pack cost, which may be higher than the generator cost!!
    Other hand how the waste management / recycling of Power packs???
    Why not think about the flow batteries, which life span is more than 50 years and 90% recyclable parts??
    To know more about the flow batteries, feel free to contact me: sanjayan.marat@gmail.com
    +971 50 4093770

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