The Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission has approved contracts for six solar-plus-storage projects, totalling 274MW/998MWh, as the price of power generated from such projects falls below traditional generation methods.
The approval comes as the cost of solar projects fully backed by four-hour batteries has fallen below the regulators’ threshold of US$0.10 per kWh, which the Commission said is “cheaper than both gas peaker plants and Hawaiian Electric Industries’ current cost of fossil fuel generation, much of which is petroleum based”.
This announcement comes less than 18 months after AES Distributed Energy started work on a 20MW/100MWh storage system on Kauai island, at which point the cost of power for solar-plus-storage stood at $0.11 per kWh.
The projects will dramatically increase the volume of solar-plus-storage, and allow stored solar power to be released throughout the evening and night, thereby taking solar from being an intermittent supply to a dispatchable resource.
In 2018, Scotland’s Younicos replaced lead-acid battery storage with lithium-ion in Hawaii, to allow “significantly higher usable energy capacity potential”.