Construction on the first utility-scale solar plant to provide power on demand is expected to begin on the Hawaiian island of Kauai in April 2016.
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with SolarCity for the use of an integrated solar photovoltaic and battery system planned for 50 acres of land near KIUC’s Kapaia power plant.
The 52 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery will feed up to 13 MW of power to the grid during peak usage hours 5 to 10 p.m. KIUC says the use of solar energy will lower fuel use and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
KIUC president and CEO David Bissell calls the project “a breakthrough on technology and on price.”
Per the agreement, KIUC will pay a lower rate than the current cost of conventional power generation and just slightly more than the cost from the co-op’s existing solar arrays, the output of which is only available during daytime hours.
Pending project approval, completion is expected near the end of 2016.