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Waikoloa solar project is producing energy on Hawaii island

The AES Corporation’s Waikoloa Solar + Storage project is now online, according to Hawaiian Electric, feeding lower-cost, renewable energy to its grid.

The addition of Hawaii’s first and largest solar-plus-storage project is expected to save Hawaii island customers about $5 per month starting in June, Hawaiian Electric said.

The 30-megawatt project, supported by a 120-megawatt-hour, lithium-ion battery storage system, can deliver enough energy to power nearly 14,000 homes.

“This project has multiple benefits for Hawaii Island,” said Shelee Kimura, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric, in a news release. “Adding more renewable resources helps make the island communities more self-sustainable by reducing their reliance on imported fossil fuels and helping to stabilize electricity costs. With battery storage and advanced controls, the project will improve the reliability of the system by providing energy when customers need it.”

Under a 25-year power purchase agreement, AES will sell energy to Hawaiian Electric at 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is one of the lowest rates for energy in the state.

While initial estimates last year placed savings for Hawaii island customers at $2 a month, they were adjusted upward to $5 a month due to current fuel costs.

The project is located on 300 acres along Waikoloa Road, about 7.5 miles from Queen Kaahumanu Highway, in South Kohala. AES Corp. broke ground on the project in April 2021.

Hawaiian Electric says the new solar plus battery project will increase Hawaii island’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – or the percentage of electricity generated by renewable resources – from 48% to 54%.

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