By Jon LeSage
The Hawaiian island of Kauai has contracted with Tesla’s SolarCity and Solar Energy subsidiaries to solve the problems of limited sunlight and dependency on fossil fuels.
Tesla created a 13 megawatt “solar farm” to generate electricity onto solar panels. That power is stored in a 52 MWh Tesla Powerpack setup. This provides a power source that can collect energy during the day and deliver it to the power grid during evening hours. That clean power will take away the island’s need for fossil fuels to meet energy demand.
Tesla says that this solar project represents the first time a public utility contracted for a system of this size that stores and delivers solar energy after sunset. The utility, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, and Tesla believe the project will reduce fossil fuel usage by 1.6 million gallons per year.
The state of Hawaii has committed to bring in more renewable energy through its Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan.
The two primary utilities that service the power needs of the state are Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian Electric Industries has set the goal of tripling distributed solar by 2030.
Tesla and Southern California Edison opened up the world’s largest battery storage facility in early February.
The facility at the SCE utility’s Ontario, Calif., station hosts about 400 Tesla PowerPack units on a 1.5-acre site. It can store enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a day or 15,000 homes for four hours, the companies said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants Tesla to play its part in fighting climate change with electric vehicles, solar energy through its SolarCity company, and energy storage products and grid-storage plants through Tesla Energy.
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