SolarCity has begun implementing its new solar power system in Hawaii. The utility-scale system also offers an integrated demand response management system, and SolarCity is building it for the Kaua’I Island Utility Cooperative on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, reports Green Biz. Following the report, the solar power company’s stock surged 7.79% to $23.65 during intra-day trading hours on Monday.
SolarCity builds massive solar power system
SolarCity’s system combines solar power collected from rooftops with power from three solar farms. The energy is then stored in a massive 52-megawatt hour battery and dispatched as needed. The company announced last year that it has signed a deal to build the solar power system on Kauai last year. The Hawaiian island aims to stop using oil for electricity by 2045 so that it can save money on what currently is an expensive system whenever oil prices go up.
While electricity rates are only about 13 to 14 cents per kilowatt hour now, they reached 44 cents in 2007 and 2008, said Green Biz. The problem was that oil prices spiked to $91 per barrel in 2008. Also Hawaii must import oil via barges, which raises the cost of electricity even more.
SolarCity harnesses the power of Hawaii’s sun
Currently the Kaua’I Island Utility Cooperative is 38% renewable energy, and it’s targeting 50% by the end of the decade.
According to Green Biz, most of the electricity that’s consumed on the island is used at night, and SolarCity’s system will help meet peak demand in the evenings. The new 13-megawatt solar farm will charge up the system’s battery during the daytime when the hot sun is beating down on the State of Hawaii. The farm will send between 10 and 13 megawatts to the grid every night. The new system is being seen as a test case or essentially a prototype of the product SolarCity unveiled last week called the Dispatchable Utility-Scale Energy Storage Plus Solar.
According to Green Biz, the Solar Energy Industries Association says that the utility segment is the fastest-growing segment in the area of solar, according to megawatt hour. SolarCity management said combining the current distributed solar power systems with utility-owned solar assets and batteries, plus demand considerations, is challenging for most utilities. They hope to make this easier with their new system.