Tokelau officially becomes world’s first 100% PV powered territory

Standalone systems totaling one MW have been installed by New Zealand-based Powersmart on the atolls, Fakaofo, Atafu and Nukunon. Work originally started on the project back in June.

Overall, the project is comprised of 4,032 photovoltaic panels, 298 SMA inverters, 121 SMA Sunny Island Chargers, and 1,344 batteries. It is said to be the biggest standalone power system in the world.

Prior to solar, Tokelau’s around 1,400 residents used to rely on diesel generators to provide electricity. Reportedly up to 200 liters of fuel were burned daily, which required around 2,000 barrels to be shipped from New Zealand at a cost of NZ$1 million (US$810,000) a year.

Overall, NZ$7.5 million (US$6.11 million) has been invested in the Tokelau photovoltaic project by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Even at today’s diesel prices, it is expected that the array will have paid for itself in less than a decade.

"The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project has been a great success," said Joe Suveinakama, general manager of the National Public Service of the Government of Tokelau, in Apia, Samoa. "Our commitment as global citizens is to make a positive contribution towards the mitigation of the impacts of climate change. As a people we are proud of this achievement."