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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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Solar Powered Island

Solar Powered Island

Solar power plant Ta'u island, American Samoa  (credit: Solar City)


Elon Musk's electric car company Tesla and its subsidiary Solar City continues moving forward towards an energy future where solar energy powers much of what we do. Combining design and manufacturing skills with innovations in battery storage, Tesla replaced imported diesel as a power source on an island 4000 miles from California. The island of Ta’u in American Samoa now receives virtually 100% of its electricity from Solar City's operational solar power plant, storage battery facility, and grid system. In making an announcement, Tesla said:

"the battery storage-enabled micro-grid that can supply nearly all the island’s power needs from renewable energy, providing a cost-saving alternative to diesel, removing the hazards of power intermittency, and making outages a thing of the past".

Musk envisions solar power to 'light the way' for a more sustainable future that also protects the environment air pollution from burning coal or diesel powered stations. The Samoan demonstration shows what is possible from installed solar systems. The question is now how fast other Pacific islands will follow their lead and adopt solar electricity for meeting their needs as well. WHB

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