Pacific Island Gets 100% Of Its Energy From The Sun

 

About a thousand people live on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. Even though the island is small in size, it is large when it comes to renewable energy. Last month the authorities announced that it was producing 100% of its electricity from solar power.

The energy company SolarCity, owned by US car producer Tesla, has made the project possible. 5000 solar panels scattered across the island bring power to 60 battery packs. The batteries store energy for up to three days on which the sun doesn’t shine. The solar panels can completely recharge the battery packs in 7 hours.

Before the project was completed power for the island’s homes, government buildings and water pumps came from electricity produced by diesel generators. Problems came up when stormy weather made it nearly impossible to bring diesel to the island. The new system is expected to reduce carbon dioxide output by over 1 million pounds and contribute to the fight against global warming.

Around the world more and more areas are turning to the production of energy from solar cells, as they are not only becoming more efficient in capturing the sun’s energy but also cheaper as well.


Especially tropical islands, such as Ta’u, are ideal for such projects because they have relatively few rainy and cloudy days. In addition, bringing oil and gas to remote islands in the Pacific make the production of electricity more expensive than anywhere else.

According to the energy planners of American Samoa, the islands aim at being completely solar-powered by 2040.

 

Tau Island on American Samoa

Ta'u Island on American Samoa

 

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Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • aim = plan
  • announce = to say officially
  • authorities = organization that has the power to make decisions in a certain area
  • battery pack = object that can store electricity for a period of time
  • capture = collect
  • carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animals breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air; it is responsible for global warming
  • complete = finish
  • completely = fully, totally
  • contribute = to be a part of
  • efficient = if something works well, without wasting energy
  • especially = above all
  • even though = while
  • generator = machine that produces electricity
  • in addition = also
  • nearly = almost
  • output = here: gas that is sent into the air
  • recharge = here: to put energy back into the batteries
  • reduce = lower
  • remote = faraway; a place that cannot be reached easily
  • renewable energy = energy that replaces itself naturally or never comes to an end
  • scattered = spread over a large area
  • solar = from the sun
  • solar-powered = energy that comes from the sun
  • store = save something so that you can use it later
  • water pump = machine that brings water to places where you need it