How Tesla and SolarCity Made this Tropical Island Go Green


The island of Ta’u has gone green. And it’s not just because of the tropical foliage. Ta’u now boasts its own microgrid, thanks to technology from Tesla and SolarCity. The massive million-dollar project allows the island to run almost completely on solar power.

Ta’u is one of the 7 American Samoan Islands and one of 3 making up the National Park of American Samoa. Visitors enjoy lush greenery and breathtaking sea cliffs. Rustic trails wind through the volcanic remnant’s rocky terrain.

Before the microgrid was installed, Ta’u relied on diesel generators. However, the island’s isolated location northwest of Fiji made it vulnerable to shipping irregularities. Imported fossil fuel was a costly and unreliable energy source. When shipments fell behind schedule, authorities rationed power, sometimes restricting energy use to mornings and afternoons.

5,328 SolarCity panels now save the island millions of gallons of diesel fuel per year. Each generator burned 300 gallons of fuel per day; That’s 109,500 gallons of diesel fuel per year PER GENERATOR! The residents now enjoy clean energy, reliable power, and stable fuel costs. In addition, the entire array of panels (1.4 Megawatts) recharges in only 7 hours and a field of 60 Tesla Powerpacks stores the energy. Even with cloudy skies, the system can power the island for 3 days.

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