One of Tesla’s earliest microgrid projects with Powerpacks was deployed in American Samoa and now the company deployed two bigger systems in order to help the country of Samoa transition their energy production from the more expensive and polluting fossil fuels, like diesel, to renewable energy.
It started on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa where Tesla deployed a 1.4 MW solar array and a 6 MWh energy storage system with 60 Tesla Powerpacks back in 2016.
Tesla’s energy storage system could cover the island’s electricity needs for 3 days and enabled them to retire a costly and polluting diesel generator.
The Samoa islands are located about 4,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States and the transport of the diesel alone was a significant part of the cost of the electricity supplied to the resident of Ta’u and it wasn’t always a guarantee that the boats would come.
It enabled a new kind of security and reliability to the island grid and now the concept is expanding to other islands in American Samoa.
Now Tesla has deployed two more Powerpack projects at the Fiaga Power Station and the Faleolo International Airport on the main island for a total of 13.5 MWh of energy storage capacity.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi commented on the new project (via Samoa Observer):
“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,”
Samoa is rapidly transitioning from a fossil fuel-based energy industry to renewable energy.
As of the last fiscal year, 48 percent of electricity in Samoa was generated from renewable energy and 52 percent from diesel. They aim to be completely powered by renewable energy (a mix of hydro, solar, and wind) by 2025.
The islands are now working with Tesla to help make it happen as they see batteries as an essential part of the solution.
“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. On least cost operation, E.P.C. is now able to reduce the use of diesel generators from four to two and sometimes limited to one generator during off-peak times. E.P.C. is now working collaboratively with Tesla in taking one step further to totally operate the system without a diesel generator,”
The latest project reportedly cost $8.8 million and was supported by development partners, including the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Japan, Government of Australia, Government of New Zealand and the European Union.
Tesla released a short video about the project: