Tokelau’s 100% Renewable Energy Project to Be Completed in September
Which country has the largest share of solar energy production in the world? Perhaps most of us would say Germany, with their impressive 25 gigawatts worth of solar PV installations as of 2011.
But that’s only in terms of raw numbers, because even at such large scale, that amount of power only contributed to about 3% of the total electric energy output of Germany for that year. A whopping 97% still came from other sources (wind, hydro, fossil fuel, etc.).
Is there any nation that has a significantly larger solar energy output percentage then? Actually there is, remember our previous announcement about Tokelau’s renewable energy plan? Well, according to the report of New Zealand’s 3news, they are nearly on their way into transforming their entire energy infrastructure into a 100% solar power-based system.
Tokelau is an island that may not be too familiar for many people living on the other side of the globe, but it is a territory of New Zealand that consists of 3 major tropical atolls. It is currently designated as a non-self governing territory, although with its political and social systems, it could be considered as a special kind of “nation” in its own right.
The solar energy project of Tokelau will use at least 4,000 individual solar PV panels, and would cost at least $7.5 million. Funding will be provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. During the time when the news was first announced, the construction of the 1,584-panel solar energy facility at atoll Fakaofo by Kiwi’s Powersmart Solar was nearly completed.
For the longest time since industrialization touched Tokelau, they have been relying on diesel generators for their electricity. At least 2,000 barrels of diesels are used to generate power for their homes and facilities, costing around US $1 million every year. So, their idea to switch to 100% solar wasn’t just due to size and ease-of-implementation advantages, as the idea became cultivated by the fact that it was also a very economic option to do.
If we try to equate the amount of money used to pay for diesel barrels to the capital money for the solar energy facilities, we could easily see that it is projected to be able to pay for itself in just a few years. As it is expected that the facility would last at least 20 years before major maintenance is required, the citizens of Tokelau would literally be able to enjoy free and clean energy for a significantly long period of time. Much like what geothermal energy has done to Iceland, solar energy would turn Tokelau into a territory that has its establishments, facilities and residential districts completely independent of any non-renewable fuel-based power system.
As of this time, work is currently being done to complete the two solar energy facilities that are already under construction at atolls Atafu and Nukunon. It is very well expected that the solar energy facilities would start providing power to the entire territory by next month.
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