AES, Kaua’i Utility Open Solar-Storage Peaker Project in Hawaii

AES Corp. and Kaua’I Island Utility Cooperative completed their joint solar and storage project at Lāwa’I, calling it a record-breaking effort for photovoltaic peaker capacity.

The Lāwa’I Solar and Energy Storage Project combines a 28-MW solar PV and 100-MWh five-hour duration energy storage system. The system can deliver approximately 11 percent of the Kaua’i island’s power needs.

This would make Kaua’i more than 50 percent powered by renewables, according to AES. Hawaii has a mandated goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

The project is owned and operated by AES Distributed Energy. Work began in February 2018.

“Kaua’i has adopted an ambitious renewables mandate and the Lāwa’i project will help reduce its reliance on fossil fuels while generating clean, reliable and affordable energy,” said Andrés Gluski, AES President and CEO. “As a supplier of power to Hawaii for more than 25 years, we are honored to have been chosen by KIUC to help demonstrate its commitment to the state’s vision of a cleaner energy future. We believe this project is a significant step toward ushering in the wider era of firm renewables.”

The project is leased on approximately 194 acres owned by McBryde Sugar Co. AES will provide power to the Kaua’I cooperative  at a contracted price of about 11 cents per kWh for 25 years, according to the Hawaii State Energy Office.

AES is utilizing SunPower’s solar panels, while Samsung SDI provided 13,000 lithium-ion battery modules for the energy storage system. It is estimated that the clean energy will displace about 3.7 million gallons of fuel otherwise needed annually.

(Rod Walton is content manager for Power Engineering and the POWERGEN International conference. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and


Energy storage is a track at the upcoming DistribuTECH conference and exhibition Feb. 5-7 in New Orleans.



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