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Ameresco starts construction on co-located 168MWh battery storage system in Hawaii

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Energy project integrator Ameresco and utility Bright Canyon Energy have broken ground on a solar and storage project with a 168MWh battery system at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex in Hawaii.

The companies held the groundbreaking and blessing ceremony last week (7 October) to mark the start of the Kūpono Solar Project, which is located on the island of O‘ahu, Hawaii’s third-largest. The project was first announced in June this year.

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Kūpono will combine a 42MW solar PV plant with a 42MW/168MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system, a four-hour duration. The batteries will store the solar energy, shifting it beyond sunset hours, providing energy to Hawaiian Electric’s (HECO) grid.

It is being developed by Kūpono Solar Development Company, a joint venture company between Ameresco and Bright Canyon Energy. Bright Canyon is part of Arizona-based utility holding company Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

Kūpono Solar has a 37-year land lease agreement with the Navy to provide critical energy resiliency upgrades for O’ahu, and will own and operate the project under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hawaiian Electric.

Lieutenant Governor (second to Governor) of Hawaii Josh Green said: “Today, we are taking significant strides to strengthen our state’s energy security and resilience, and thanks to the (local) ‘Ewa community, Navy, Hawaiian Electric, Ameresco and Bright Canyon Energy, we are now steps closer to reaching Hawaii’s renewable energy vision of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045.”

Hawaii got its first ever utility-scale solar-plus-storage project recently when Clearway Energy Group inaugurated a 39MW solar PV, 39MW/159MWh BESS site in August, also on the island of O’ahu, as reported by Energy-Storage.news.

Ameresco’s new project coincides closely with AES starting construction on two of its own on Maui, Hawaii’s second-largest island, which have a combined 360MWh of energy storage.

Hawaii is one of the leading US states for solar adoption, both residential and utility-scale, partially due to its need to import expensive and polluting fossil fuels. Interest in battery storage to maximise utilisation of these has grown recently.

That includes utility-scale projects like these but also on the residential side, with Hawaiian Electric launching a 10-year programme within its Battery Bonus scheme to incentivise the deployment of home storage units alongside solar PV.

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