Tesla is partnering with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to bring its batteries, known as Tesla Powerpacks, to help increase its solar-based electricity contribution to the island in Hawaii. Earlier this month, the two companies held a blessing ceremony to kick-off the 13-megawatt solar system.
Hawaii Governor David Ige said that electrical storage is a challenge for Hawaii. “I want to congratulate the residents of Kauai. Renewable energy sources are the future and we’re committed to making that happen,” Ige said at the ceremony.
The Tesla Powerpacks store enough power to service 4,500 homes during peak night demand with storage of 52 megawatts of power. Before connecting the powerpacks, Kauai’s grid had reached the maximum amount of solar power it could take.
“The beauty of this project is that it allows KIUC to reduce the amount of oil fired power generation needed to meet our peak demand during our nighttime and early morning hours at a negotiated rate of an unheard of 13.9 cents per kilowatt hour,” said Jan TenBruggencate, president of the KIUC Board of Directors.
The Tesla facility is estimated to reduce Kauai’s fossil fuel use by 1.6 million gallons of diesel annually.
The solar farm is composed of 54,978 solar panels with 13 megawatts of solar generation capacity. Tesla installed 272 of it’s large-capacity, commercial Powerpack 2 batteries at the solar farm. The Powerpacks help store excess electrical energy generated during daylight hours that can be sent over the grid once the sun sets for the day.
The utility had been exploring battery technology for several years, KIUC Chief Executive Officer Dave Bissell said, but commercial batteries didn’t make financial sense until the partnership with Tesla was pursued.
A similar set-up on American Samoa by Tesla is powering the island there. A microgrid with 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity was installed there, generating enough power to cover nearly 100% of the island’s needs. The microgrid there is enabled by 60 Tesla Powerpacks to carry the electrical demands of the island when the sun is down. The solar array on American Samoa is composed of 5,328 solar panels; thanks to the Powerpacks, the system can fully recharge with just 7 hours of daylight.