tesla / solarcity
On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 70,000 solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)

The Kauai Islands get a lot of sun every day. A few years ago, that would have set people thinking about beaches and tanning. However, that sounded like the perfect place to set up a new solar cell facility to Tesla — and so it did. Backed by Tesla, the Kauai facility opened for business on Friday and a 13 MW solar farm installation has started providing power to a Powerpack storage facility that has a total capacity of 52 MWh.

The new solar facility will reduce the Island’s dependence on fossil fuels by a significant amount. The Island won’t go totally green, considering that it will still need to import some fossil fuels to meet its power needs. However, it will still reduce the overall usage of fossil fuels for power needs by almost 1.6 million gallons per year.

What’s more, this facility is special even as Tesla’s facilities go. It can capture energy from the sun during peak daytime production hours (because the sun provides its power in the day you see) and then provide that power during the peak consumption hours at night. This is as opposed to the regular systems, wherein energy supply is often simultaneous with production.

This has actually been one of the biggest issues with solar power. Production is maximum in the day however, consumption is usually the lowest. This problem is all them more apparent in tourist destinations wherein everyone is out tanning during the days anyways. Tesla however, has found a workaround for the problem and has managed to find a way to preserve power for when it is needed the most.

The company’s Kauai facility was developed on behalf of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and apparently it is the biggest solar storage facility in the world. It deploys Powerpack 2, Tesla’s second-gen commercial storage, which have been sourced from Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory.

The facility also forms an important part of Hawaii’s mission of going completely green by 2045. Hopefully, it will also encourage other power providers the world over, to make the move to solar. After all, it is a very long term investment and in the long run, its costs probably come down to less than fossil fuels. The installation is still expensive however, and that is one of the biggest roadblocks keeping many people away from getting solar cells installed at their places.

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