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100% renewable energy through solar panels a reality on Ta’u Island

A look at the 1,410 kW of solar PV panels, of the Ta’u Renewable Energy PV project, commissioned Thursday and located on Faleasao village, Ta’u island, in Manu’a. While the project was officially commissioned Thursday, it became operational in the last two days.  [photo: AF]
Renewable energy plant on Ta’u commissioned

The American Samoa Power Authority yesterday commissioned its Ta’u island renewable energy project in the village of Faleasao, while the Ofu island renewable project is scheduled to be dedicated during the later part of next month.

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, other government officials and invited guests traveled to Ta’u for the ceremony, amid a cloudy day and now Ta’u island will be fully power by renewable energy, through solar panels.

The two Manu’a renewable projects, along with Aoloaufou wind renewable project on Tutuila is funded with $8.1 million in revenues from the American Samoa Economic Development Authority (ASEDA) issued bonds.

ASG accounts payment to ASPA of $8.3 million was converted to bonds through ASEDA, says ASPA executive director Utu Abe Malae, who is also ASEDA board vice chair. He also says that 20% of the renewable projects are funded with grants from the US Interior Department.

Before he left for Ta’u island yesterday morning, Utu said the Ta’u project, which was contracted to California-based company Solar City, “will provide 100% renewable energy to the island” and this will also be the same when the Ofu project is commissioned Nov. 30.

In addition to the renewable energy projects, Utu told Samoa News that all public lighting in Manu’a would be upgraded to LED lights.

“This will reduce island loads by 15%, giving extra head on renewable energy system,” he explained. “Combined, projects will reduce Manu’a demand for diesel fuel significantly and reduce the demands on shipping services to get it there.”

“Other benefits include reduced environmental damage caused by diesel generator emissions, risks of diesel spills and noise pollution,” Utu points out.

The Ta’u project calls for the installation of 1,410 kW of solar PV panels, and 6,000 kWh of battery storage. Three new 275 KW Cummins diesel generators and one 480V switchgear were also installed as backup at the Ta'u power plant.

For the Ofu project, which is contracted to Pacific Solar Innovations, it will have 342 kW of solar PV panels and 1,000 kWh of battery storage.