Remember when Tesla was just a small-time electric car company making Roadsters? Now CEO Elon Musk is in the business of generating and storing solar electricity for entire islands as he continues on his mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. On Wednesday, the clean energy company unveiled its first big solar-plus-storage project since last year’s $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity — a 13 megawatt solar farm that will power the Hawaiian island of Kauai around the clock from 54,978 panels and 272 Powerpacks providing 52 megawatt-hours of energy storage.
Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) signed a 20-year contract with Tesla to buy the solar electricity for 13.9 cents per kilowatt hour. According to KIUC president and CEO David Bissel, it is the biggest solar storage facility in the world. Tesla and KIUC estimate that the project will reduce fossil fuel usage by 1.6 million gallons a year.
Related: Tesla just unveiled the world’s largest battery storage plant
For Hawaii, the solar-plus-storage facility is another step toward achieving its goal of powering the state with 100 percent renewables by 2045. Hawaii could also need plenty of Tesla electric vehicles soon if a bill being pushed by renewable energy advocates gets signed into law by Gov. David Ige. The bill aims for a 100 percent renewable energy transportation sector by 2045.
Kauai isn’t the first island Tesla is powering with solar. Last year, Tesla installed a microgrid of solar energy panels and batteries to power the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. According to Tesla, the 5,328 solar panels and 60 Powerpacks offset more than 109,500 gallons of diesel per year.
Via The Verge