Hawaii approves six low-priced solar and battery storage projects | RenewEconomy

Hawaii approves six low-priced solar and battery storage projects

Hawaii utility gives approval to six solar and battery storage projects that will provide firm power at a substantial discount to current generation.

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Hawaiian Electric, the largest supplier of electricity in Hawaii, has announced final approval of six grid-scale solar and battery storage projects which, together, amount to the largest and lowest-cost portfolio of renewable energy and storage resources to be assembled at one time in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission (PCU) approved last week the six projects – three of which will be built on the island of Oahu, one on Maui, and two on the island of Hawaii.

Together, the six projects will add total solar capacity of 247 MW and almost 1 GWh of battery storage – each project being coupled with storage that will be able to provide four hours of electricity.

“We really appreciate the PUC moving so quickly to review and approve these projects, which enables the developers to meet the aggressive schedule that was set up to take advantage of federal tax credits,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.

“The sooner these projects are delivering energy to customers, the sooner they’ll see savings.”

The six projects – on top of being clean and reliable – were also awarded at significantly low prices, as can be seen below:

The prices are significantly lower than the cost of fossil fuel generation in the United States (around the $0.15/kWh mark) and, in total, the six projects are expected to generate power equivalent to the needs of 105,000 homes each year and will eliminate over 48 million gallons of imported fossil fuels annually.

The six projects are the result of a February 2018 procurement request by Hawaiian Electric intended to expand the company’s renewable energy portfolio.

Two more projects – a 12.5 MW solar array in West Oahu combined with a 50 MWh storage system, and a 15 MW solar array on Maui combined with a 60 MWh storage system – are still under review by Hawaiian regulators. All seven projects were announced earlier this year, and an eighth was announced to be in planning stages.

“We believe strongly that the renewable energy transformation should benefit everyone and these seven projects will help stabilize customer costs while reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of business development and strategic planning, in January.

Overall, however, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light, now boast over 500 MW of renewable energy capacity under contract in addition to the almost 80,000 residential solar installations in operation across the islands.

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