World’s Largest Solar + Battery Plant Unveiled in Hawaii

It was a historic day on Kauai as KIUC and its partner AES Distributed Energy unveiled the largest solar-plus-battery-storage facility in the world.

Power producer AES Corporation and the not-for-profit Kaua’i island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) unveiled what’s claimed to be the world’s largest solar-plus-storage peaker on the island of Kauai on Tuesday, the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project.

This is a significant step to help the Aloha State reach its 100 percent renewable energy goalby 2045, one of the most aggressive decarbonization targets in the nation.

So what exactly does this thing do? The battery-based energy storage system—consisting of a 28-megawatts of solar PV and 20-megawatt lithium-ion battery—is designed to supply the grid with peak power output for up to five hours while simultaneously charging the batteries, according to the member-owned energy cooperative.

Essentially, the new facility solves a big hiccup with standalone solar plants, which traditionally turn to peaker plants that run on fossil fuels to meet peak demand on the grid.

Once it’s fully integrated, the Lāwa’i plant will offset the use of 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year, the developers touted in a press release.

“Now that the Lāwa’i project is on line, as much as 40 percent of our evening peak power will be supplied by stored solar energy,” KIUC’s president and CEO David Bissell said at the unveiling on Tuesday. “I think it’s safe to say this is a unique achievement in the nation and possibly the world.” 01-09-19

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