AES Distributed Energy (AES DE) and Kauai Island Utility (KIUC) have begun constructing the Lāwa’i solar and energy storage project in Hawaii.

Located on Kauai’s south shore, the project will feature 28MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity and a 100MWh five-hour duration energy storage system.

AES Distributed Energy president Woody Rubin said: “AES has had a presence in Hawaii for more than 25 years, and this first-of-its-kind project demonstrates our continued commitment to the state’s vision of a cleaner energy future.

“This innovative project will help reduce Kauai’s reliance on fossil fuels while generating clean, reliable and affordable energy.”

“The project will provide 11% of Kauai’s electric generation, increasing KIUC’s renewable sourced generation to close to 60%.”

The project is said to be in line with Hawaii’s goal of meeting 100% of the state’s energy demand with renewable energy by 2045.

Designed to offer dispatchable renewable solarpower, the battery-based energy storage system will be capable of delivering peak power output for up to five hours outside of daytime hours.

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The system also has the ability to supply energy directly to the grid during daytime hours.

KIUC president and CEO David Bissell said: “The project will provide 11% of Kauai’s electric generation, increasing KIUC’s renewable sourced generation to close to 60%.

“At $0.11 per kWh, the pricing is well below the cost of diesel and will not only provide downward pressure on rates, but also helps us avoid the use of 3.7 million gallons of diesel each year.

Established in 2002, KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 33,000 customers on the island of Kauai. AES DE will own and operate the project for a long-term.