Elon Musk's Tesla car manufacturing company is helping power an entire island that mostly runs on solar energy. The American Samoa island, Ta'ū, is being juiced by Musk and subsidiary company SolarCity, a far cry from their previous means.
Musk has become the subject of some bad press lately, having publicly smoked a cannabis and tobacco joint on a show with Joe Rogan, but his endeavors continue.
Ta'ū, meanwhile, is run on renewable energy, most of which is solar. And the island's electricity is generated from the 1.4 megawatts of solar energy on SolarCity's microgrid.
Per alphr, the 44.31 km² island is littered with solar panels, 5,328 to be precise, and there are also 60 of Tesla's largest commercial batteries - branded Powerpacks - which can distribute 6 megawatt hours of stored energy.
Given the island's location - the middle of the South Pacific ocean - there's need for occasional battery power as the sun isn't always shining due to poor weather conditions from time to time. Tesla's commercial batteries come in quite handy and facilitate solar power even when the sun doesn't decide to be helpful. The many solar panels can deliver solar power to the entire island for a full three days and the system can be recharged in just seven hours.
Before this advent, the Samoan island was powered by generators which used diesel for fuel. Each generator consumed 300 gallons of fuel and, apart from being very bad for the environment, the system was quite expensive to maintain.
The introduction of solar energy has been a great transition as the harmful effects of the burning of diesel have been eliminated, while there's no longer a need to import barrels of the fuel on a continuous basis.
Late diesel shipments caused great inconveniences to the island's 600 or so residents. But they no longer have to worry about running out of or rationing power now that solar energy is readily available and easily renewable.
With project Ta'ū a huge success, Tesla are looking to use data from the island and the system therein to help them come up with a method of sustaining larger populations with solar energy.