Hawaiian Electric announces ‘mind-blowing’ solar-plus-storage contracts

(Greentech Media, 4 Jan 2019) This week Hawaiian Electric Company sent seven new solar-plus-storage contracts to state regulators. Six come in at record-low prices for the state, under 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The projects, which now await regulatory approval, would add 262 megawatts of solar and 1,048 megawatt-hours of storage distributed over three islands. The company said the projects will provide power “in place of volatile prices of fossil fuels,” which it quotes at about 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

AES, Innergex, Clearway and 174 Power Global are developing the projects.

Both the pricing and the size of the contracts are significant. 

“It’s hard to overstate the scale of this announcement,” said Dan Finn-Foley, a senior energy storage analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. 

If the state’s public utility commission approves the power-purchase agreement contracts, it would mean a big boost for the U.S. storage market. WoodMac currently logs 1.4 gigawatt-hours of energy storage installed in the nation, with just 75 megawatt-hours in Hawaii. According to Finn-Foley, Hawaiian Electric’s projects would nearly double what’s installed in the U.S. and grow Hawaii’s market exponentially. Taken together, the projects would also rank as the second-largest storage announcement ever, just behind the recently approved Moss Landing project in California.

But that’s not even the most thrilling part of this announcement for clean energy analysts. 

“What’s even more notable is the range of PPA prices,” said Finn-Foley. 

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Greentech Media, 4 Jan 2019: Hawaiian Electric announces ‘mind-blowing’ solar-plus-storage contracts