DISCUSSION NZ island powered entirely by the sun

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______7th November 2012
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Tokelau, home to about 1,500 islanders, has become the world’s first territory to run entirely on solar energy. The New Zealand territory installed 4,032 solar panels and 1,344 batteries costing a total of $7m (£4.3m). This might seem a lot for an island where GDP is only $299,125; however, this new system saves the island from importing all its energy which used to cost up to $1million a year.

Although the original project hoped to sustain 93% of Tokelau’s energy needs (the other 7% coming from burning coconut oil), the panels can manage up to 150% of the island’s energy requirements. The solar network can produce more than 1,400 megawatts per hour and will reduce more than 950 tonnes a year of carbon dioxide emissions.

The new system will also much more reliable with less power cuts. Mr Parchomchuck, director of Power Smart the company that worked on the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, says that other Pacific Islands have expressed interest in making the switch to solar power after the success in Tokelau.

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