A tiny island, named Ta’u, in American Samoa is changing the way islands across the globe view sustainability. Ta’u solar power was installed in November 2016 and is now supplying the entire island with renewable electricity.
In truth, all islands are true examples of microcosms that make up planet Earth. They have limited space and resources. Each island’s success is characterized by management of these two commodities. Ta’u has taken a giant step forward in proactive management.
Energy History of Ta’u
In 1972, the American Samoa Power Authority constructed a diesel power plant that supplied Ta’u island with readily-available power for the first time in its history. This dramatically changed island life for residents. Kerosene lamps had previously supplied light to the majority of inhabitants. Now, all they had to do was flip a switch to turn on a light. It was a game changer. But that was over 40 years ago….
Ta’u Solar Power
This past November, revolution once again took place. Ta’u island was converted from 100 percent diesel power to 100 percent solar power. Although this time the change was much less dramatic. The lights barely flickered as the transition transpired.
The installation of 5,328 solar panels took place on the northern end of the island on a seven acre solar farm. The farm generates 1.410 megawatts of electricity and stores it on 60 Tesla powerpacks. The power packs are essentially large batteries that can hold a three-day power supply with no sunshine required.
California-based SolarCity, recently purchased by Tesla, installed the project, despite the 4,000+ mile distance between California and Ta’u. The US Department of Interior and the American Samoa Power Authority funded the eight million dollar project. The new solar panels displace 110,000 gallons of oil used by the island annually.
The Future of Ta’u
Consequently, daily life on the island of Ta’u can be perceived as unchanged. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Children in classrooms are now talking about being “green,” discussing sustainability and focusing on renewable resources. Also, elders on the island are excited to be more independent, which mimics the old ways for these residents. They are no longer dependent on oil shipments and other outside resources. This freedom allows residents to feel more autonomous.
The citizens of Ta’u hope to set an example for other islands, showing that sustainability is possible. They hope to shape conversations around the world about how renewable energy is indeed worth the investment. Furthermore, time will show that the technology is reliable and the citizens of Ta’u are content.
Awareness Junkie created and published this article (Ta’u Solar Power: Independence For An Entire Island) under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sabrina Mueller and AwarenessJunkie.com. You may re-post freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.