Tokelau islands become the first to completely rely on solar power

Alternative energy solutions are a topic of intense interest worldwide. Research and development into new methods to generate and harness power continues although some tend to forget that there are already some pretty viable solutions readily available.

Tokelau now has enough solar panel installations to completely meet their electrical energy needs. Up to this point, the islands had to rely on imported diesel fuel to power electrical generators. As New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murry McCully points out, this had heavy economic and environmental costs.

The $7 million project was funded by the New Zealand government. A collection of solar panels were installed on each of the three islands. The last of the panels were put into place earlier this week, according to the BBC.

Keep in mind of course that these are three very small islands. Collectively, the islands consist of just 12 square kilometers of land mass and have a population of only 1,500. That said, it’s a pretty big deal for the territory as project co-planner Mike Basset-Smith said the government would now be able to invest more money into social welfare projects – money that used to be spent on diesel fuel.

 

In the year following the upgrade we reduced the number of hours we needed to employ technical support. The speed of the network permits much faster data transfer as evidenced by speedier upgrades of software. Teachers appreciate being able to access the network across the school site, in every corner of the campus. This year we installed a third full computer suite following the rewiring of the campus.

Vivianne Murphy, Principal
Wanganui Girls College

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