Story and images by Meleane Daisy Salesa
In the year 2016, a company, SolarCity, constructed a solar power plant for the Manu’a island of Ta’u and its people. Being a small and isolated island, the population relied on costly and environmentally unfriendly diesel generators to supply energy. However, with the construction of a solar array, battery storage system and micro grid, the island’s power is provided almost 100% from the sun.
Our new power plant includes 60 Tesla power packs. The system should be a more reliable source of energy, and is designed to power the entire island for 3 days without sunlight.
The solar farm is located above the village of Faleasao, on the island of Ta’ū, Manu’a. Why did they choose that location? According to Mr. Asaivao’s, “the company (SolarCity) along with ASPA agreed to that location based on where the sun rises. When the sun rises, that would be the best chance for the solar panels to charge fully from the sunlight.”
How much does it cost? Well, one of the ASPA’s employee Dean Salesa (age 23) said, “the solar project that we have worked on cost $8 million dollars to build.” He once said that due to his experience as an employee of ASPA, he is grateful to be part of this construction because it’s for the people of Manu’a.
I’m glad that this solar projects is helping our people. It is definitely the next step of life. Sivai Niumata (age 50) says that, “solar power has been nothing but a good resource for electricity.”
Before, when the generators used diesel, it had to turn off so the workers could refill the tank. This would automatically turn off everyone’s house appliances like computers, ovens, refrigerators, etc without notice. Now, with the help from the sun to the solar panels, this is no longer a problem.
I just can’t wait to see what our future has in store for us, our people, and our environment due to solar energy project.