World’s first solar-powered country

August 3, 2012

Tokelau (credit: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

A $7.3 million project to convert the tiny island nation of Tokelau to all solar power is nearing completion.

Once activated, the installations should provide more than 90 percent of the power used by the islands’ 1,711 residents, MSN Future of Tech reports.

Tokelau is a remote nation northeast of New Zealand comprising three atolls, to which goods and passengers can only travel by boat. Their electricity needs, though modest, are met by burning diesel fuel in generators. The transportation of the nearly 2,000 barrels of fuel consumed each year costs the population around a million dollars — a heavy toll.


(Credit: 3News)

The three solar arrays will generate about a megawatt in total, and batteries will keep the lights on at times when Tokelau’s citizens previously could not afford to run generators.