• 16 solar-plus-storage projects have been selected by Hawaiian Electric under renewable energy procurement exercise launched in August 2019
  • 3 islands of O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘I will host 460 MW of solar and 3 GWh of energy storage capacity
  • Project locations and sizes will be released within a month and first among the projects is likely to come online in 2022
  • COVID-19 related economic disruption may delay project completion schedules, warned Hawaiian Electric

Hawaiian Electric has selected 460 MW of solar power and 3 GWh of energy storage capacity (solar plus storage or standalone storage projects) under what it says is the largest renewable energy procurement exercise in the American state. All this capacity will be developed in Hawaii in the form of 16 solar-plus-storage projects on the three islands of O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i.

The procurement exercise was launched by Hawaiian Electric in August 2019 for 900 MW of renewable energy and grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources.

Of the 16 winning projects, 8 solar-plus storage projects and a standalone storage project with a combined capacity of 287 MW of generation and 1.8 GWh of storage will come up in O‘ahu.

Another 100 MW of generation and 560 MWh of storage will be located on the island of Maui as 3 solar-plus-storage a standalone storage project. Remaining 72 MW of generation and 492 MWh of storage is scheduled for Hawai‘i island in the form of 2 solar-plus-storage projects and a standalone project.

Hawaiian Electric itself proposed some projects out of which 2 were selected – a 40 MW/160 MWh standalone energy storage system on Maui and a 12 MW/12 MWh storage system on Hawai‘i island.

Exact project sizes and locations will be made public within a month’s time said Hawaiian Electric that will now enter contract negotiations with the winners. These contracts will need to be cleared by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Names of winning developers were not disclosed.

Among the selected projects, the first is likely to come online in 2022 but the utility cautioned the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic may delay project timelines.

“We went big with the scope of this request for proposals to see what the renewable energy market would support and to ensure lots of competition,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric Senior Vice President for Business Development and Strategic Planning. “The projects chosen provide the best opportunity for customer savings and realistic timelines for completion so we can keep our clean energy transition on track.”

The state of Hawaii aims to use 100% renewable energy in its generation portfolio by 2045. The projects selected will increase the total solar MWs to the Hawaiian Electric’s system by more than 50%, it stated.