Elon Musk and Tesla are doing some great things in terms of renewable energy. If you aren’t familiar with Musk’s master plan part two, you should go to Tesla’s website and check it out for yourself. Not only does he plan on making homes 100 percent sustainable through the use of solar energy, but he plans to do the same thing with his automobiles. Soon, you’ll be able to meet all of your renewable energy needs through one company.
However, making sustainable homes and cars isn’t enough for the super entrepreneur, and he’s recently powered an entire island in the South Pacific Ocean using solar energy. The island of Ta’u and its 600 residents now have their electricity nearly 100 percent supplied by a micro grid of battery storage systems and a single solar power plant.
The entire project took under a year to implement and it now consists of a 1.4 megawatt micro grid of 5,328 solar panels. Although the island is close to being a sun-soaked paradise, that’s technically enough energy to keep them powered for three days total, even without the sun.
The project is a result of the continued collaboration between SolarCity and Tesla, which is behind his new solar panels and sustainable energy plans for the United States. As the two companies merge, they are continuing to push the boundaries of solar power and it’s use in everyday life.
The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Department of Interior. The locals are hoping it will sort out their decades of struggle with unreliable electricity due to their isolation, and end blackouts entirely.
In a SolarCity blog post, local grocery store owner Keith Ahsoon describes the impact of the project on the island.
“I remember growing up using candlelight. And now, in 2016, we were still experiencing the same problems. I recall a time they weren’t able to get the boat out here for two months. We rely on that boat for everything, including importing diesel for the generators for all our electricity. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the villages uses and depends on that.”
Best of all for the residents of the island is that their bills will drastically decrease in cost. SolarCity claims that the project isn’t a glimpse into the future, but an example of what is possible right now, in the present.
Both SolarCity and Tesla hope that other islands will begin following suit, and although this is a small project relative to the global energy crisis, it’s a major step in the right direction.
It’s important to understand that solutions to the energy crisis and our addiction to fossil fuels exist. Solar power and renewable, sustainable energy sources aren’t reserved for the future; we are capable of making the necessary changes right now. What starts with an island in the South Pacific will grow to involve entire regions, countries, and then the rest of the world. We need more ideas and more entrepreneurs willing to put forth the time and money for the sake of the globe.