By Abiyana E. Moore, Age 8

Solar panels, such as these, were installed in Ta’u and Kauai.

 

Ta’u is a very small island that is part of American Samoa. The island is located in a warm region in the South Pacific Ocean. Because of Ta’u’s warm climate and exposure to sun rays the island is an ideal candidate for solar panels, a natural form of energy harnessed by the suns rays.

Since 2016, 100 percent of the island is powered by solar energy. Tesla set up a microgrid that combines solar panels with large commercial batteries to store and evenly distribute the energy throughout the day. These batteries can fully charge with just seven hours of exposure to sunlight, according to SolarCity.

Similar to Puerto Rico, Ta’u used to be powered by fossil fuels, consuming 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. Unlike Puerto Rico, which is home to 3,660,735 people, Ta’u has less than 1000 residents.

However, because microgrids are small and self-contained, they can be used as a part of larger energy strategy and make the power grid less likely to have to system-wide outages.

 

Microgrid: A local energy grid that can disconnect from the main grid and operate independently.