Renewable Energy Witnesses a Bright Future in Hawaii

solar installation

Keahole Solar Power’s Holaniku installation, Big Island of Hawaii.
Credit: CC/Xklaim

Hawaii is poised to lead the solar and energy storage for the future, with the state already generating more solar power per person than any other state. Hawaii has been the solar industry’s proving grounds, and the island of Kaua’i has been contributing enormously in this front.

It was reported that electricity generator AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) had signed a deal with the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative. The deal involves the selling of electricity from a 28 MW energy farm and 100 MWh energy storage facilities for 11 cents/kWh. It was recently announced that SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) would supply components for the project. It has also been observed that in the case Hawaii could make solar plus energy storage work economically, then the rest of the world could also do the same.

Hawaii has been a commonplace for solar, and this has been reiterated by the installation of 782.5 MW of solar in the state by the end of 2016, which has generated electricity and powered around 197,000 homes. Hawaii’s utilities have also cut net metering, which has reportedly forced consumers to self-supplement with solar power systems with energy storage.

Energy storage has become financially justifiable without net metering, and Sunrun (NASDAQ: RUN), Telsa (NASDAQ: TSLA), and SunPower have been able to sell storage systems pairing with solar sales, for personal use to homeowners. The installation of 1 MW of commercial energy storage systems was completed by privately held Stem Inc. in a pilot program with Hawaiian Electric Industries (NYSE: HE). And, this project is believed to build distributed solar on site under a utility’s control.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, it is believed that renewable energy sources can power a grid 24/7. The small footprint of Hawaii makes it an ideal proving ground for renewable and energy storage systems.

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