Mar 13

Tesla Bringing Stored Solar Power to Kauai – Video

 

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.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Opens World’s Largest Battery Storage Facility With Utility Company

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.

HybridCars.com

This entry was posted on Monday, March 13th, 2017 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 24


  1. 1
    Loboc

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (7:53 am)

    I suppose that “limited sunlight” means that there is collectible sun power only during the daytime. There are a lot of sunny days in Hawaii. 😉

    What is the backup plan for days when it is cloudy all day?

    I expect we will see more solar by utilities as the cost comes in below NG generation.
    Solar plus batteries is pretty expensive though. Islands are a good place to start since everything is imported.


  2. 2
    Dan Petit/Petit Technical Colege

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (8:04 am)

    Hauling all types of fuels half way around the planet all the time is absurdly cost prohibitive as solar and battery storage costs diminish.

    Any numbers regarding Volts and BEVs on the islands?


  3. 3
    Taser54

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (10:11 am)

    Kauai signed this contract in 2015, it took two years to complete.


  4. 4
    Steverino

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (10:43 am)

    But won’t sucking out that much energy from the sun drain away all the sunlight, casting the island into darkness during the day as well as night? There won’t be enough sunlight for plants to grow. 🙂


  5. 5
    MnVikes

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (11:02 am)

    I would prefer to see the top of every big box store covered with solar panels.
    Or better yet, every new house built with solar shingles.

    Just has to be cost effective.


  6. 6
    Jackson

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (11:24 am)

    Whenever I see these pictures of mountains running down to the shore and think of electricity, I wonder why some sort of pumped hydro wouldn’t work for storage. In the case of Hawaii, seawater would be pumped up to some kind of impoundment on the flanks of these mountains and released to run turbines when power is required. Of course, on the islands you have to ask how the power is generated; there was once a proposal to use wave energy, and wind might also be an answer.

    I hate to see arable flat land used for a solar array, as depicted, since it is in such short supply. In the rain-shadow of the mountains, it can be much drier; and some flat land is covered with lava flows. It might be harder to build in these places, but the health of the whole island must be considered.


  7. 7
    Mark Z

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (12:44 pm)

    Jackson: I hate to see arable flat land used for a solar array, as depicted, since it is in such short supply.

    The hotel and resort industry use electricity as massive numbers of visitors fly in using oil powered aircraft. The small amount of land used for solar instead of another hotel or resort is fine with me.


  8. 8
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    Mar 13th, 2017 (1:42 pm)

    Mark Z,

    I’m not saying that solar is bad, just that it can be deployed more appropriately on land that can’t be used for much else (and that there might be other methods also for cleanly generating the electricity). It is surprising how much agriculture there is, particularly on the island of Hawaii, despite the limited land area. Even leaving land undeveloped helps support the unique island species.

    If you don’t want people riding in evil oil-powered airplanes, impose a draconian limit for the number of flights to places they want to go (you can go to Peoria all you want). 😛

    Of course, you can’t allow “gouging” for the limited spots, because market forces are more evil than CO2; right? You’ll apply to the government for permission, which may well be granted within 3 years — if you pass political muster.


  9. 9
    Jackson

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (2:00 pm)

    The future of nasty, evil airliners; driven by technology and market forces:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21527035


  10. 10
    James

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (2:44 pm)

    A much bigger story that surfaced on Thursday and is causing a shockwave
    is Elon Musk’s brash guarantee to deliver and install 100-300 MWh of
    battery storage to south Australia INSTALLED within 100 days of signing
    the order, OR IT’S FREE!

    Apparently, Musk’s bold tweet and promise to an Australian
    billionaire investor caused a Holy &@t! response from said
    person and a quick response from Australia’s Prime Minister
    Turnbull. It seems a boon to Tesla’s stock price if he can
    pull it off, or a total bust if he cannot.

    https://arstechnica.com/business/2017/03/elon-musk-on-batteries-for-australia-installed-in-100-days-or-it-is-free/


  11. 11
    James

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:02 pm)

    Somebody negged Jackson for his comments/concerns re: proper
    utilization of tillable land. I un-negged him with a big + because
    he’s perfectly right and made some sound assertions.

    I’m involved in commercial real estate and I appreciate the
    value and scarcity of land. I think Jackson is right, and Mark Z
    and others are right also.

    Like our healthcare issues and national energy issues – there is
    no one solution. It’s a mix of “all of the above” in most cases.
    Oversimplification is a disease.

    I have the same thoughts as Jackson and others here when we
    talk about large buildings, housing developments, apartments
    and condominium complexes having their own localized solar
    in sunny climates like Hawaii. When we build out installations
    like the one pictured and all types of public utilities projects
    it just continues that hierarchy of being beholden to large
    public projects and having a middleman and extra expense
    added to our personal power needs.

    Ultimately, instead of high-income people only being able
    to install solar, wind and geo thermal at our homes
    ( multi-millionaire ex NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is
    presently hawking home geo thermal ) – We’d all like to
    see as much private solar on homes as humanly possible.

    Certainly, these large projects will bring down costs of
    battery storage, enabling us – the little guy – to more
    reasonably install panels and battery storage on our own
    homes. This is the ultimate goal – Thus says the libertarian
    in me. Why be beholden to yet another wasteful institution
    for our power needs when we can produce almost all
    we need right at our own homes with equipment we own?

    There should be a tiered permitting process wherein new
    business and residential construction can build more –
    do more IF they install enough solar/wind/geo thermal
    for that development to power 90% of it’s electrical needs.

    In sunny climates, this means those installations also pour
    back into the public grid – and those who install such arrays
    should benefit from fair payment from those public
    utilities for the power they reap. Right now, many states who
    initially had fair programs that paid reasonable amounts for
    surplus power generated by privately own systems, now
    have cut those payments to far below market value – making
    it less attractive for consumers to consider sustainable home
    power.

    The key here again, is the price of installation. Naturally,
    the larger the install, the more the savings. So I agree with
    posters that Home Depot, and large business developers
    should be given the most incentive to install sustainable
    power development devices upon initial design phase of
    their projects. Large Costco wharehouses and shopping
    malls can retrofit and be able to reap rewards not in tax
    incentives, but in decent rewards from the grid provider
    based upon a tiered system that say, allows them to
    apply their savings to payback costs in 5-10 years.


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    taser54

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:03 pm)

    James,

    As I posted above, it took solar city 2 years to finish Kauai. Best of luck to Tesla, it hasn’t met a deadline like this before.


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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:15 pm)

    Southern cities and suburbs, when viewed on Google Earth should
    look like little blue and gray solar farms. Every new tract housing
    development in the suburbs, and new shopping malls should be
    covered in solar. Those that don’t should have solar roofs like the
    ones Tesla/Solar City is now bringing to market.

    I know today we are in a situation where solar is too expensive
    for most to buy. Solar and battery storage is too expensive for
    most private homeowners to even consider. That is why I believe
    installments like these Tesla public projects are for today – but we should
    SOON transition to affordable private home retrieval and storage.

    I live in rainy Seattle. I discovered the solar panels that work
    best for our cloudy skies are cheaper than conventional solar
    as is best for sunny climates. That said, it’s still far over my
    current budget to install enough on my home, as I do not plan
    to be here in this house for 25 more years.

    I looked into wind and geo thermal. Same thing. Too expensive
    and the real estate market does not credit your home value
    with the additional expense of solar and wind!

    A friend of mine installed 5 kwh of solar panels on his home.
    When time came to appraise his home for sale, the appraser
    just grunted when my friend asked how much he accounted
    the solar in the price of the house. He said, “Ugh, be it known
    that makes absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in the value estimation
    here in Washington State”!.

    How can that be?! I know any home I buy in the future will
    be far more attractive for my purchase decision should it have
    sustainable energy installed.


  14. 14
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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:29 pm)

    There is a building boom in my area. Apartments and condos are
    going up all over. Soon after they start to become inhabited, these
    large structures can be seen with satellite TV dishes hanging out
    all over. This is a priority for almost everyone who gets a new place.

    So why not energy? Why don’t those developers have incentives to
    place solar panels on the roof? There is enough wind in my town
    to justify turbines too. I live next to a 25 mile long lake. Studies
    show that even in moderate climates like ours, geo thermal becomes
    very cost-effective if placed just a few feet offshore under such
    bodies of water. My town could generate a good deal of it’s own
    power with such a scaled system. The land is there already, they
    just don’t have the vision. They have, however – charged us
    taxpayers on our property tax for a solar installation they put up
    to get the city hall a LEED certification! Fine for city hall, but
    it seems so myopic to plaster solar panels on city hall – but it
    remains price prohibitive to put them on our own houses!

    Also, many community neighborhood assocations like my own
    prohibit solar because it’s an “eyesore”. I’ve talked to
    neighbors who wanted to place a wind turbine on their property
    only to be shut down by the association! Since my property
    is grandfathered in – I have had a mind to put up a HUGE
    wind turbine up high just to get their goat! Problem is cost.
    We have lots of days with low to moderate wind off the water,
    but the sheer average mph for the year doesn’t really add
    up for cost retrieval right now.

    Fall and springtime are big for high wind here. During those
    months I lay in bed some nights, listening to the trees flailing
    in the wind and pinecones bouncing off my roof – thinking,
    “if only I had a wind turbine out there right now filling
    some nice storage batteries in the garage with energy!”


  15. 15
    James

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:44 pm)

    Germany is a socialist country that has incentivized the buildup
    of solar power in the private sector. It’s not a sunny country, yet
    many farmers and apartment owners fill their property with
    solar panels to reap the rewards of government rebates. It just
    doesn’t make sense financially, because the costs to the government,
    is a bad deal for the people. Great for the few who can afford to
    put up the solar walls, solar installs on farmland, etc..

    Many farmers in Germany found that the income benefit of solar
    rather than crops on those acres came from the subsidies, not
    the actual output of the solar installs themselves.

    This is development in the name of lower C02 levels, but I see
    sustainables as also the best way forward for private solar owners
    in the name of cost, control and independence.


  16. 16
    James

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:48 pm)

    Jackson is right
    about some areas in Hawaii, say if a private landowner has a
    waterfall nearby, he could benefit from a small water turbine,
    etc.. There are several considerations naturally, and every case
    is unique. Certainly, we wouldn’t want to disturb natural beauty
    and public access to such natural gems. It also wouldn’t be
    practical unless enough homeowners and/or businesses could
    benefit from such an installation. Distance from such a power
    source is vital as energy losses due to distance run up quickly.

    This is why localized sustainable seems the best bet. I was
    so onboard Bloom Energy when they hit the scene. When
    courting investors, they touted a business plan to create a
    homeowners model – a fuel cell stack in a box no larger than
    a home air conditioner unit placed on your property for a
    price of $9,000 to supply your average home. This fuel cell
    could be powered from natural gas or sustainables – or a mix.

    9 years later and still Bloom Energy is plugging along only
    doing large corporate installs. How long must we wait for
    costs to come down to a point where Joe middle class can
    provide his own home’s energy needs?

    Whether battery storage and/or a small fuel cell stack –
    I’m game for home energy solutions that get me off the grid.


  17. 17
    James

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:54 pm)

    So let’s start with larger projects from Bloom and Tesla that still
    work on the plan that a large local authority distributes the “wealth”
    of energy so to speak.

    But soon, and VERY soon, we need to get costs down so the
    private sector can take charge of their own energy needs.

    I think the next step to these types of projects are the lower tier
    of localized power stations. Say enough fuel cell stacks or battery
    storage to service one condo development or one shopping center.
    An airport or water filtering/distribution facility should also be
    off grid, having it’s own sustainable power supply designed right
    in from the get go.

    Lastly, I’d be buying Tesla stock. Battery storage is the future,
    as are solar roofs. It’s going to take decades, but for those
    interested in long term profits – I don’t think we can go wrong
    in investing in Tesla. Electric cars are just the tip of the Tesla
    iceberg.


  18. 18
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    Mar 13th, 2017 (3:58 pm)

    Sorry for so many posts today – I promise this is the last one for
    a few hours! LOL! This subject highly intriques me ( obviously )…

    I get CHARGED UP over stories like this because I also see it as
    a huge gain in national security.

    With smaller localized power storage, our larger grid systems are
    safer from cyber attacks. It’s been in the news for a while now
    that enemies of our national good have manipulated our power
    grid from overseas.

    With more individual homeowners and apartment managers
    responsible for small chunks of our needs, it leaves a smaller
    and smaller vulnerability to the public safety. No enemy is
    going to be able to shut down large sectors of our power
    grid if it’s chopped up into tiny segments – even hundreds of
    thousands of private homes.

    The Trump administration is bullish on funding military
    spending. Why not take a chunk of these tax expenditures
    and place them into temporary ( say 5 years ) incentives
    such as the temporary zero emissions incentives that
    helped spur the 550,000 BEVs and PHEVs that are on U.S.
    roads today?

    Give me a tax break for sustainable energy install on
    my home! Maybe it’s time for the EV tax break to go away,
    after all – I believe EVs have enough momentum through
    Tesla – and to a much smaller extend, the current state
    of developments at GM, to maintain growth.

    Now give me incentives for a few years to put into place
    a sustainable way for me to charge that vehicle I
    purchased and power my home from the sun, wind
    and underground thermal energy.

    This is all just to much COMMON SENSE. Instead,
    like Germany, we’ll debate and delay – large public/
    private projects…Which generally means decades of
    kicking the can down the street and never seeing any
    real progress made.

    Socialists and liberals all far more in support of
    taxation and government projects than giving me
    the individual more rights and power over my own
    family and life.

    Big projects mean big waste. Big waste means we
    add to our national and personal debt. Government
    workers all have hands out, and special interests to
    satisfy. If we took my approach, we would add jobs,
    spur innovation and new businesses to grow and
    thrive in a new energy economy.


  19. 19
    dakster

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (7:30 pm)

    Glad this was finally put online. I agree with the comments that the answer to getting rid of burning fossil fuels is a mix. Utilities and private business owners and homeowners together will make a difference. Always will need/want a power company as the reliability is there and backup power is there.

    IF we are serious about this, the start would be to require all new buildings or even re-roofs to have solar power on them. Solar shingles, tiles, or panels. Grid-tied.

    Land use for panels should be handled like any other land use, through zoning and planning. While arable land is probably in short supply in HI, sometimes you need/want a buffer between houses. A farm can always be turned into a condo/housing development, but once you put panels on it, that is typically there to stay.

    Even if this project doesn’t remove the need for fossil fuels in it’s entirety, saving 1.6 million gallons of fuel a year is an awesome start.


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    Mar 13th, 2017 (8:20 pm)

    I lived in Greensboro, NC in the eighties and an associate visited with his wife from Texas. This was her first visit to an eastern city and I asked her what she thought of NC. She said there are too many trees, you can’t see anything. Unfortunately these beautiful trees we have in NC also prevent the sun from seeing many roofs, mine included in the Charlotte area. Solar City said I am not eligible for Solar. 8-(


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    Mark Z

     

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    Mar 13th, 2017 (11:10 pm)

    After reading the replies, I suggest installing solar panels above the ocean and build Hyperloop to travel between the mainland and Hawaii.


  22. 22
    James

     

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    Mar 14th, 2017 (2:03 am)

    Eco_Turbo:
    I lived in Greensboro, NC in the eighties and an associate visited with his wife from Texas. This was her first visit to an eastern city and I asked her what she thought of NC. She said there are too many trees, you can’t see anything. Unfortunately these beautiful trees we have in NC also prevent the sun from seeing many roofs, mine included in the Charlotte area. Solar City said I am not eligible for Solar. 8-(

    Yours is a situation where offsite solar and/or wind, or geo thermal makes sense.

    Like I said, it’s not a one-size-fits-all world in sustainables. Some folks use a
    combination of geo thermal for heat and water heating. Offsite power from
    a solar facility located in a clearing with no trees around would work great.


  23. 23
    James

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    Mar 14th, 2017 (2:11 am)

    dakster:
    Glad this was finally put online.I agree with the comments that the answer to getting rid of burning fossil fuels is a mix. Utilities and private business owners and homeowners together will make a difference. Always will need/want a power company as the reliability is there and backup power is there.

    IF we are serious about this, the start would be to require all new buildings or even re-roofs to have solar power on them. Solar shingles, tiles, or panels. Grid-tied.

    Land use for panels should be handled like any other land use, through zoning and planning. While arable land is probably in short supply in HI, sometimes you need/want a buffer between houses. A farm can always be turned into a condo/housing development, but once you put panels on it, that is typically there to stay.

    Even if this project doesn’t remove the need for fossil fuels in it’s entirety, saving 1.6 million gallons of fuel a year is an awesome start.

    I give you a + 1/2 for your post.

    I’m not into government shoving things down my throat. I love electric/electrified
    cars there is no doubt. I sure wouldn’t want to call this a free country and have
    any government mandate that I own/drive one!

    Incentives, yes. Developers and contractors could gain land-use perks and
    maybe even tax breaks when adding either a localized, small solar plant
    for the housing development or apartment complex, or maybe just a
    price break on the panels, battery storage and electronics.

    I’d pay more for a brand-new home that came with solar. I think the
    sales pitch would include how the solar is discounted and how short
    my payback timeline would be.

    Just like EVs, if these programs lasted 10 years, they could be
    phased out once the volume was such that the price of panels was
    competitely advantageous compared to conventional, old-fashioned
    alternatives.

    “What?! This home doesn’t come with solar?!- Forget it!”


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    Mar 14th, 2017 (1:21 pm)

    James- There is a solar, wind powered home in my town… Occasionally it goes up for sale, but the $100k premium the seller wants doesn’t make sense… It’s of grid with a generator on natural gas as backup, which means that it will cost you $20k – $30k for the local power company to put you on the grid. Which honestly, being in the last frontier – being on the grid makes me feel safer.