Solarcity is to supply a 13MW solar and energy storage system for the Hawaiian city of Kapai by building a solar farm connected to a huge battery.
The 52MWh battery system, which Solarcity dubs the first utility-scale dispatchable solar storage facility in the US, will feed up to 13MW of electricity onto the grid, reducing the diesel-fuelled generation needed.
The solar developer has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) that is specifically designed to meet power needs at the evening peak.
Work to build and integrate the storage/solar facility with KIUC’s operational 12MW Koloa solar array is expected to begin next April.
KIUC chief executive David Bissel said: “This is a breakthrough project on technology and on price that enables us to move solar energy to the peak demand hours in the evening and reduce the amount of fossil fuel we’re using.”
Hawaii is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels and consequently suffers the highest electricity prices in the US.
It is aiming to supply 65% of energy demand with renewables by 2030.
SolarCity has not yet revealed any technical details of the project, although the company’s partner on storage systems is EV maker Tesla.
Tesla has supplied the installation and leasing company with energy storage systems for its DemandLogic commercial offering, and SolarCity is already taking orders for Powerwall, Tesla’s forthcoming residential storage product.