Tesla is taking solar to Samoa. On Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk shared a video detailing the company’s progress in bringing clean energy to the country. Samoa is the first Pacific country to undertake such a project, which has combined renewable sources like solar with a battery storage system to provide a constant source of power.
The system is a breakthrough for Tesla, which has installed similar systems in the American Soamoan island of Ta’ū and the state of South Australia. Samoa’s $8.8 million project consists of 10,000 units of battery storage totalling eight megawatts each at Fiaga Power Station, plus a further 3,400 units of two-megawatt packs at Faleolo International Airport. Prime minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi told Samoan Observer this week that “without the new battery energy storage systems and micro grid controller, the system will not be able to operate efficiently with such a high percentage of solar penetration in Samoa of 55 percent.”
“The two main objectives of this project are the stability of the electrical grid given the large amount of solar systems of 13 megawatts now connected to the grid, and to be able to operate the electrical grid effectively and efficiently to achieve least cost by reducing the number of diesel generators to operate at any time,” Malielegaoi said. “Since the batteries have been running on trial tests, the quality (voltage and frequency) of the electricity supply has been very steady and not fluctuating as before.”
It’s a story that’s been repeated with Tesla’s other projects. The firm’s 100 megawatt lithium-ion behemoth in South Australia pumped out energy at full capacity when a power cut struck the Loy Yant power plant in Victoria, just 140 milliseconds after the strike. South Australian State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the national operators were “shocked at how quickly and efficiently the battery was able to deliver this type of energy into the market.”
Samoa took 48 percent of its energy from renewables between July 2017 and June 2018, with the other 52 percent coming from diesel. The goal is to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2025.
With Tesla providing a stable source of energy, it may just reach its goal.