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Three tiny islands are world's first to rely entirely on solar power

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Solar panel (1020)
Solar panel (1020)

Solar energy is increasingly being used to power operations both big and small, but a group of three tiny islands in the South Pacific are now able to entirely use solar power to meet their energy needs. The islands of the Tokelau territory "now have enough solar capacity, on average, to meet electricity needs," said New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully. He went on to say that the project is the "world's first," and called the $7 million NZ project an "excellent example of how small Pacific nations can lead the way on renewable energy development."

Tokelau, which is a territory of New Zealand, previously had to rely on imported diesel to power its islands, which had "heavy economic and environmental costs," according to McCully. Of course, it's worth noting that these islands are extremely small, with a total land area of only 12 square kilometers and a population of 1,500 — but that's not stopping New Zealand from looking to use what it learned in Tokelau elsewhere. The country is planning to co-host a South Pacific clean energy summit next March along with Tokelau, Tonga, and the Cook Islands.