January 9, 2019 Read More →

World’s biggest solar-plus-storage project comes online in Hawaii

Greentech Media:

AES Corporation launched the world’s largest battery plant paired with solar generation Tuesday, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative is finishing up commissioning for the Lawa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project, which combines 28 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity with a lithium-ion battery capable of storing 100 megawatt-hours.

The battery alone holds more energy than all but one other U.S. plant: the 120 megawatt-hour facility AES built in Escondido in 2017. Taken as a whole, Lawa’i’s storage capacity outranks any other operational solar-paired battery system in the world, according to Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables. But the ever-growing solar-plus-storage project pipeline means that title won’t be safe for long.

“This market is growing at a phenomenal rate,” said AES President and CEO Andrés Gluski. “I think you’re going to see a whole lot less peaker plants.”

AES owns and operates the plant on behalf of KIUC, under a power purchase agreement pegged at 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. The plant delivers solar power when a standalone solar plant can’t: at night. That offsets the peaker plants that turn on for the evening peak; in Hawaii, those plants tend to run on imported oil, at considerable expense.

Lawa’i can crank a full output of 20 megawatts for five hours. With 100 megawatt-hours of stored energy, the battery can also operate more like a baseload plant, delivering a lower amount of power for more hours through the night until the sun comes back up. AES expects to offset 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year by dispatching more cost-effectively than the fossil fueled incumbents.

More: AES completes record-breaking solar and battery plant on Kauai

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