Demand Management, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Storage, Industrial, Utilities, Solar  -  February 17, 2016

Battery system selected for Hawaii co-op solar storage project

Lithium-ion Batteries will be used for a first-of-its-kind solar array and energy storage system to be built for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, according to a FEb. 16 announcement from SolarCity.

The solar company is constructing the project with batteries procured from Tesla Energy.

The project is believed to be the first utility-scale system in the U.S. to provide dispatchable solar energy, meaning that the utility can count on electricity being available when it's needed, even hours after the sun goes down. The 52-MWh Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion battery storage system will supply up to 13 MW to the grid to reduce the amount of conventional power generation needed to meet the region's evening peak demand. 

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, or KUIC, will reduce the amount of diesel fuel it needs to import by using storage instead of generators. The storage system also cuts the greenhouse gas emissions that would be associated with using a diesel generator option.

“Under the terms of the 20-year contract announced in September 2015, KIUC will pay SolarCity 14.5 cents per kilowatt hour, only slightly more than the cost of energy from KIUC's two existing 12 megawatt solar arrays, whose output is available only during the day,” according to the announcement.

Most local permits have been received and now the project is waiting on approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. The developers requested an expedited review process with an eye toward completing the project by end-2016.

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