Microgrids are currently being implemented in remote locations, like the islands of American Samoa, but also have the potential to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure reliable electricity in communities around the globe.
A remote microgrid can play a crucial role on a far-flung island, as SolarCity shows today in unveiling a completed project 4,000 miles off the U.S. West Coast.
The company installed a solar microgrid on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. The microgrid’s “benefits are life changing for residents,” says Peter Rive, cofounder and chief technology officer, in a blog posted on SolarCity’s website.
The remote microgrid uses 1.4 MW of solar and 6 MWh of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. The project replaces diesel generators with nearly 100 percent renewable energy.
Because of interruptions in diesel fuel shipments, the island is no stranger to power rationing and outages.
Rive quotes local resident Keith Ahsoon whose family owns a food store on the island: “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 of our electricity. Once diesel gets low, we try to save it by using it only for mornings and afternoons. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the village uses and depends on that. It’s hard to live not knowing what’s going to happen. I remember growing up using candlelight. And now, in 2016, we were still experiencing the same problems.”
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