Seven major solar-plus-storage projects on three islands, representing the largest infusion of renewable energy in state history, are now in contract negotiations between developers and the Hawaiian Electric Companies.
These negotiations are expected to produce long-term contracts for approximately 260MW of solar energy on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii islands.
Each solar project will be connected to a storage system that will capture up to four hours of electricity that can further reduce fossil fuel use in the evening or other times when the sun isn't shining.
"These large-scale solar and battery projects will accelerate our renewable energy drive at some of the lowest prices we've seen to date," said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.
"With support from our communities, these projects will reduce our reliance on fossil fuel and cut greenhouse gas emissions while benefitting all with low-cost renewable energy."
Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light are already operating more than 500MW of renewable energy under contract in addition to nearly 80,000 private rooftop systems in operation. The cost of renewable energy continues to drop, aided by tax credits available to developers.
These projects, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), will help displace another 1.2 million barrels of fossil fuel per year.
These seven projects result from an ambitious, expedited procurement effort that the companies began in February to expand their renewable energy portfolios.
Working with the PUC, the companies increased their original procurement scope for Hawaii Island from the equivalent 20MW to 60MW, expedited project selection and increased the total number of projects anticipated in this phase of the procurement across all three islands.
The seven projects include:
- On Oahu, three projects totaling approximately 120MW and 515 megawatt-hours of storage
- On Maui, two projects totaling approximately 75MW and 300 megawatt-hours of storage
- On Hawaii Island, two projects totaling approximately 60MW and 240 megawatt-hours of storage
While developers already include outreach as part of their plans and actively engage with the community, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have now specifically made community outreach a formal part of the procurement process and require all of those who seek to build a project to engage early on with residents in the communities where their projects will be sited.
Developers will begin community outreach activities in the coming weeks. Community members will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed projects and Hawaiian Electric will file the comments with the PUC as part of the regulatory approval process.