Innergex of Canada announced this week that it is a finalist for the largest renewable energy procurement ever proposed by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy. It was announced today, bringing the total to $1.2 billion, more than double the previous record holder, the United States Department of Energy.
The project, located at the Natural Energy Laboratories of Hawaii, is a 2 MW solar thermal project to be connected to the Hawaiian grid under an electricity purchase agreement. The project would also include a 160 MWh battery system that will store solar energy during the day and provide electricity at night, and a new substation that will be connected to the Maui grid.
The project is planned by an independent developer, but ultimately the state wants to connect it to the Hawaiian grid via an undersea cable. HawaiianElectric is building a 1.5 MW solar power plant on the island and a 2 MW wind farm on Maui.
The company provides residential and commercial solar services on Maui, O'ahu and Kauai, including electricity, solar energy and hot water. Island Solar is in the midst of a $1.5 million investment in a 1 MW solar power plant on the island of Oahu. It includes solar panels for private, commercial and industrial use, as well as a wind farm, a rooftop solar system for commercial use and a solar water heater.
Maui also has rooftop photovoltaic panels that are scattered across the island, which currently add about 45 megawatts to the renewable energy portfolio, making Maui the second-largest rooftop solar plant in the state, behind Kauai. On Oahu, 37% of single-family homes now have solar roofs, and the number of rooftop solar panels installed has increased from 74,331 in 2018 to 77,801 in 2019, an increase of 4.6%.
Maui County had a 41% RPS in 2018, up from 39% in 2017, according to the Hawaii Department of Public Utilities. In 2019, the total number of PGV plants in the district's supply network was 64 percent, compared to 72 percent in 2016, even though PGV plants have been online for a year. The total renewable energy portfolio for the entire Maui district is 44 percent this year (down 57 percent from 2017), a 2.5 percent decline.
Still, Hawaiian Electric continued its renewable energy efforts last year, performing well on both Oahu and Maui. The utility has switched to a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio in 2018 after the Hawaiian legislature passed a new renewable energy target - 100 percent renewable energy for the state.
But soon after the withdrawal, solar customers could no longer justify the cost of installing solar panels, and solar energy on the islands declined dramatically. Solar panels in Hawaii capture less energy than is typical for a state in the southwestern US, but if you divide their investment costs and add up the energy they can produce over their lifetime in Hawaii, the effective price of solar power is about $1,000 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), which equals upfront costs elsewhere. That's about the same price as grid power on Oahu and Maui and about half as much as on the mainland. The profitability of solar panels has improved in recent years, as many more customers have opted to install solar panels, according to Hawaiian Electric.
Hawaii has the potential to become one of the highest users of solar energy in the country, according to the US Energy Information Administration. This means that Hawaii is the only state with a real chance of becoming the largest user of solar energy in the country, and the state can achieve this goal even if no homeowner decides to install solar panels. Due to the low cost of oil and coal, there is no need to import oil or coal or to import energy costs.
Although grid power is much more expensive in Hawaii than in other states, Hawaiians enjoy abundant sunshine, making solar power relatively inexpensive. Installation of solar panels is extremely attractive to Hawaiians, because they pay much more for electricity than the typical American, and therefore have a huge incentive to install them.
If you are a homeowner using electricity in Hawaii, solar is a good option for you, because Maui's sun is much more abundant than in other parts of the United States and therefore much cheaper than grid electricity.
Blue Pacific Solar can help you decide which Maui home or RV solar set is best suited to your home. If you simply want to connect to the grid with a solar system, you should be able to start planning and get support in choosing the best option for you in terms of cost, efficiency and reliability of your solar system. The first step in selecting the right type of solar cells for the most cost-effective solution is to first determine the average daily consumption in kWh and then divide it by the number of available hours of sunshine. To find the average sunshine hour per day on MauI, take a look at the solar irradiation map provided by our team here at Blue Pacific Solar.