Tesla Inc. has built a solar power facility on the island of Kauai that uses batteries to allow the company to sell energy during the evening.
The Kapaia installation is part of a project by the electric car manufacturer to provide more clean energy to the grid. It comprises a 13mW solar power system and 52mWh batteries that are able to store energy and then distribute it during the night. Basically, the company has signed a 20-year agreement with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to deliver electricity at 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Since Tesla acquired the solar panel installer, SolarCity Corp., in November last year, this project is yet the largest of its kind that is placed in service. It reflects the efforts of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to turn his company into a one-stop shop for clean energy. As it has been pointed out, Musk is integrating solar power into the batteries they are creating to offer more-reliable energy to facilities, eventually reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
Commenting on the project, Tesla CTO Jeffrey Brian “JB” Straubel said:
“This is the first time that solar energy can be delivered very reliably into the night. That’s the key to scaling renewable energies up.”
Having the highest electricity prices in the US, Hawaii aims to generate all of its electric power from renewable sources by 2045. Now, it is conducting experiments to find the best way of integrating increasing amounts of intermittent solar energy on its system.
Aside from Tesla, energy developer AES Corp. is also building 28mW solar project with battery storage on the island of Kauai.