SunPower PV solution chosen for Hawaii’s biggest solar-plus-storage project so far

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Robot cleaning a SunPower Oasis installation. Image: SunPower.

A large-scale solar-plus-storage project on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i will be built using SunPower’s scalable Oasis Power Plant platform after the PV technology provider was chosen by AES Distributed Energy.

Energy-Storage.News reported on the project’s earliest stages back in January this year. A 28MW PV plant will be co-located with a 20MW energy storage system, with five hours energy storage duration. It is being built to serve the customers of utility Kaua‛i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).

AES Distributed Energy, a subsidiary of the AES Corporation, which also includes AES Energy Storage, system integrator and maker of the Advancion grid-scale storage platform, is the project’s developer. AES DE will construct both the SunPower Oasis PV plant and associated energy storage facility.

AES DE president Woody Rubin said the SunPower kit was selected through a competitive tender process, adding that the solution would “optimise the cost-competitive solar power” generated for KIUC’s customers. Supplying the full kit as an integrated solution allows SunPower to streamline costs and reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) requirements, the company claims.

SunPower offers Oasis as a “fully integrated power plant solution”, using a tracker system and – in this instance – SunPower’s E-Series PV modules, which are assembled in Malaysia and have module conversion efficiencies around the 20% mark.

Back in January, a KIUC official said that energy from the plant could be delivered to residents at US$0.11 per kWh and would provide 11% of Kaua’i’s electric generation. KIUC CEO and president David Bissell said that obtaining such fixed pricing for dispatchable solar energy was “remarkable”.  

AES DE claims the project is going to be Hawaii’s biggest utility-scale solar-plus-storage project so far. Other notable efforts include a 12MW PV farm co-located with 52MWh of energy storage which makes the solar energy generated dispatchable to the grid, which Tesla-SolarCity is also executing on Kaua'i. Meanwhile, the US Navy is building a 44MW solar power plant with energy storage, also on Kaua’i, while ‘intelligent’ commercial storage provider Stem is aggregating customer systems into a 1MW ‘virtual power plant’ on another island, O’ahu.

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