Fast on the heels of the completion of Tesla’s $2.6 billion merger with SolarCity comes the news that the companies are powering an entire island with nearly 100 percent solar energy, thanks to a renewable energy microgrid. The remote island of Ta’u in American Samoa is over 4,000 miles from the West Coast, and power there is spotty, to say the least. Tesla and SolarCity installed a solar array and microgrid as a cost-saving alternative to diesel generators, which provides residents with a reliable source of electricity without the emissions that contribute to climate change.

An unreliable power grid and frequent outages cause major disruptions for the lives of Ta’u residents. Water pumps there also require electricity, so grid interruptions block access to clean water, on top of the other inconveniences that come from a spotty power supply. Tesla has emerged as a strong leader in the renewable energy field, with CEO Elon Musk working quickly to show the world what is possible. Together, Tesla and SolarCity installed a solar power array and battery storage-enabled microgrid on Ta’u to demonstrate that potential by supplying nearly 100 percent of the island’s power needs.

Related: Tesla/SolarCity launch groundbreaking new solar roof

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SolarCity reports that the 1.4-megawatt capacity solar array on Ta’u took just one year to plan and implement. The system also provides 6 megawatt hours of battery storage from 60 Tesla Powerpacks. Now, the nearly 600 island residents have consistent, reliable power for the local hospital, high school and elementary schools, fire and police stations, as well as local businesses. Saving money by switching away from diesel generators and making power outages a thing of the past improves the quality of life for Ta’u residents, and Tesla and SolarCity hope it will serve as an example of how current electricity problems can be solved simply and effectively, without damaging the environment.

Via The Verge

Images via SolarCity