AES Waikoloa project 85 percent powered, promises major Hawaiian solar and battery storage additions by April 2023

Published on January 03, 2023 by Chris Galford

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In a progress update on the AES Waikoloa Solar + Storage project, Hawaiian Electric announced last week that what will soon be Hawaii Island’s biggest solar and battery storage project has been powered up to 85 percent of its capacity, with full operation expected by April 2023.

Whenever it finishes work, Waikoloa will begin supplying energy to Hawaiian Electric through a 25-year power purchase agreement at a rate of 9 cents per kW hour. According to the company, this should result in reductions of typical residential bills on the island by about $2 per month. Testing has already begun and will continue into January.

“We are in the final stage of having this large-scale clean energy project come fully online that will make a significant impact on the Big Island’s transition to a cleaner, greener way of producing electricity to improve the quality of life, both for today and for generations to come,” Sandra Larsen, AES market business leader for Hawaii, said. “We are proud to be partnering with Hawaiian Electric on this initiative and support their direction to produce clean energy for the good of Hawaii’s future.”

Importantly, Waikoloa will provide 42.2 MW of renewable energy backed by a 120 MW hour lithium-ion battery energy storage system. Sprawled across 300 acres on Hawaii Island, it has made gradual progress on construction, installation, and energizing since April 2021. At this point, all solar panels and batteries are fully installed. Once testing is complete and everything is powered, the system will provide an extra generation resource to address demand in the area when other resources are unavailable.

“This important project provides multiple benefits to customers on Hawaii Island, strengthening reliability and providing clean energy to the grid at about one-third the cost of oil,” Shelee Kimura, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, said. “For more than 30 years, Hawaii Island has been a national leader in the transition to renewable energy and we’re proud to add AES Waikoloa Solar to the island’s diverse portfolio of resources.”