Tokelau is the first island territory to be 100% solar powered

In 2012, the Pacific island territory of Tokelau succeeded in generating all its energy from solar power, a world first.

Aided by a $7 million grant from New Zealand, approximately 4000 solar panels (close to 1 MW) have been installed providing solar energy to a population of around 1500 residents over three islands. Batteries store energy for use at night.

Previously energy was provided by diesel generators, providing an unreliable supply and an expense of up to $1 million each year for diesel imports.

Local residents have received training to operate and maintain the system, and Powersmart Solar, the company that installed the system, is temporarily assisting with monitoring.

Dean Parchomchuck, the director of Powersmart Solar, commented that other islands in the Pacific are enthusiastic about solar power but that it may not be practical for larger islands to become 100% solar powered.