Waikoloa Solar + Storage project up and running
The AES Corporation’s Waikoloa Solar + Storage project is online and feeding lower-cost renewable energy to the Hawai‘i Island electric grid.
It is the island’s first and largest solar plus storage project and can generate up to 30 megawatts supported by a 120 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system.
“This project has multiple benefits for Hawai‘i Island,” said Shelee Kimura, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. “Adding more renewable resources helps make the island communities more self-sustainable by reducing their reliance on imported fossil fuels and helping to stabilize electricity costs.”
Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, AES will sell energy to Hawaiian Electric at 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, one of the lowest rates for energy in Hawai‘i. It is expected to reduce typical residential bills for Hawai‘i Island customers by about $5 a month.
The project will increase the island’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – the percentage of electricity generated by renewable resources – from 48% to 54%.
Located along Waikoloa Road on a 300-acre parcel about 7.5 miles from the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, the project broke ground in April 2021. Construction to install the photovoltaic solar panels and battery energy storage system began in November 2021. Testing began in December 2022, and the project was approved to begin full operation in April.
“Our team is especially proud that this project is expected to provide savings for Hawai‘i Island residents and will deliver enough clean energy to power nearly 14,000 homes,” said Sandra Larsen, AES Hawai‘i market business leader.
In 2018, Hawaiian Electric began the first phase of Hawai‘i’s largest procurement for renewable energy resources to meet the state’s 100% renewable portfolio standard requirement. AES’s Waikoloa Solar + Storage project is one of two Hawai‘i Island projects resulting from the first phase. The other, Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.’s Hale Kuawehi Solar, is expected to be completed in 2024.
Editor’s Note: Hawaiian Electric issued a correction to its press release. The expected reduction to a typical residential bill for Hawai‘i Island customers is about $5 a month. An earlier version had a lower amount.