• HECO has submitted contracts for solar power procurement from 7 solar plus storage projects to the state’s Public Utilities Commission
  • These projects will be developed within Hawaii itself for prices ranging between $0.08 to $0.12 per kWh
  • HECO says these prices are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation which is about 15 cents per kWh

Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) plans to procure clean solar power from 7 grid-scale solar power projects with 262 MW total capacity and 1,048 MWh of storage capacity. All of this energy storage capacity will provide 4 hours of electricity. HECO has submitted these projects for approval from the Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission.

Among the projects submitted, prices for 6 of them are what HECO terms as the ‘lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state’ of Hawaii – that is $0.08 per kWh for 2 projects of 30 MW (Waikoloa Solar in Hawaii) and 60 MW (Kuihelani Solar in Maui) each, with storage capacity of 120 MWh and 240 MWh, respectively. AES is the developer for both these projects.

Overall, the prices range between $0.08 and $0.12 per kWh for all the 7 projects. HECO says these prices, which are charged to customers with no mark-up or profit to the utility, are significantly lower than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 US cents per kilowatt-hour. The complete list of these projects with details of developer, storage capacity and price is available on Hawaiian Electric’s website.

Among the projects are 2 from Clearway Energy Group, namely 39 MW Mililani I Solar Project with 156 MWh of energy storage capacity and 36 MW Waiawa Solar Project with 144 MWh of storage. Clearway announced in a separate announcement that it has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with HECO for these projects.

HECO launched a procurement exercise in February 2018 to expand their renewable energy portfolio. The 7 solar plus storage projects were selected in response to the call. Apart from these projects, a 12.5 MW solar array in West Oahu with a 50 MWh storage system is also being planned, but its contract is yet to be submitted to the commission.

The state of Hawaii is targeting to achieve 40% renewables power share by 2030 and achieve 100% by 2045. In comparison, HECO is aiming for 100% target by 2040 (see HECO’s 100% RE Plan Approved). The 3 companies have more than 500 MW of renewable energy under contract along with some 80,000 private rooftop solar systems in operation. HECO sees renewables as helping the companies reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels, provide clean energy and also stabilize customer costs.

In April 2018, a report by Elemental Excelerator claimed the state of Hawaii can go faster and reach renewables share of 58% to 84% by 2030 which will be way cheaper (see Hawaii Needs Faster Clean Energy Transition).