Hawaii unveils largest solar+storage system in the state and possibly the world

AES Distributed Energy and Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) held a site blessing yesterday for completion of the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage facility on Kauaʻi’s south shore. The facility consists of 28 MW solar PV and a 100 MWh, five-hour duration energy storage system that will help Hawaii meet its goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045. The new PV Peaker will deliver roughly 11% of the Kaua’i’s power, making the island more than 50% powered by renewables.

Image courtesy of AES twitter

“AES DE is incredibly proud to have reached this important and historic milestone with KIUC now that the AES Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project is on-line and delivering clean, affordable and dispatchable energy to Kauai community,” said Woody Rubin, President of AES Distributed Energy. “This innovative project will be a reliable source of firm renewable energy for decades to come and serve as an example for markets across the globe.  We thank KIUC for their leadership in driving towards a cleaner energy future as well as the broader community for their support during the development of the project.”

“Now that the Lāwa’i project is on line, as much as 40% of our evening peak power will be supplied by stored solar energy,” stated Dave Bissell, KIUC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to partner with AES on innovative projects that are paving the way toward a clean energy future.”

The Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project began providing early morning and evening renewable peaking capacity to the grid on the island of Kauai in December 2018, helping replace traditional generation altogether with firm renewables, ensuring a more sustainable future and establishing a new model for stabilizing grid-scale renewable energy. At 11 cents per kWh, the PV peaker plant will provide energy well below the cost of diesel and help KIUC eliminate the use of 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year.

The fully integrated Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project will support three vital scenarios in power distribution – it allows for solar generation to supply the grid while charging the battery system, dispatches power stored in the battery system to the grid during peak demand periods and can dispatch solar and battery power simultaneously to answer spikes in demand or black start the grid altogether after a system-wide outage or natural disaster.

The system is located on 155 acres of former sugar land between Lāwaʻi and Kōloa on Kauaʻi’s south shore. It is currently the largest solar-plus-storage system in the state of Hawaiʻi and one of the biggest storage systems in the world.

AES DE is currently constructing an additional 19.3-MW solar and 70-MWh battery energy storage facility for KIUC located on leased land from the U.S. Department of Defense within the Pacific Missile Range Facility – Barking Sands (PMRF) Naval Base. This facility will be completed by end of 2019. Together, these projects will contribute significantly to KIUC’s goal to produce 70% of the island’s power from renewables by the end of 2019, well ahead of its 2030 goal.

Combining solar power with battery-based energy storage as the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project does firms renewable energy by converting intermittent renewable generation into safe, reliable and higher-quality power that benefits those who live and visit Hawaiʻi.

AES DE is the long-term owner and operator of the project.

News item from AES

Comments are closed.