- On the heels of shareholder approval of their merger, Tesla and SolarCity are touting a microgrid on the island of T’au in American Samoa as the future of solar-plus-storage power generation.
- Financed by the EPA, the Department of the Interior and the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the power generation project includes 5,300 solar panels that collectively generate 1.4 megawatts of energy, along with 6 megawatt hours of reserve power from 60 Tesla Powerpack commercial grade batteries.
- The microgrid is intended to eliminate the island’s reliance on costly diesel generators by providing 72 hours of full power from a solar array that recharges with seven hours of sunlight.
Even as Tesla Q3 sales figures doubled year over year from 2015 to 2016, CEO Elon Musk remains committed to the idea that solar-plus-storage applications for residential and microgrid applications will eclipse car sales. In addition to the T’au microgrid announcement, the companies were quick to promote Tesla’s solar shingles even as the ink on merger papers dried.
Tesla’s not alone in the quest to develop a viable energy storage model. Private investment in energy storage technology is likely enough for the approach to achieve scale, according to Advanced Microgrid Solutions CEO Susan Kennedy. In July, AMS announced a 50 MW storage agreement with Southern California Edison that will be powered in part by electricity stored in AMS’ hybrid-electric buildings.
Microgrid innovation is also happening at the international level, with utilities in Eastern Canada and Maine embarking on a $12.4 million effort to link three microgrids in a cross-border transactional energy concept project.