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HEI utilities sign 262-MW solar, 1,048-MWh storage capacity at 9.4 cents/kWh

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. utilities have signed long-term power purchase contracts for seven solar projects and related battery energy storage facilities in the islands of Oahu, Maui and Hawaii.

Subject to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approval, Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc., Maui Electric Co. Ltd. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. Inc. will purchase the output of solar facilities with approximately 262 MW of capacity and 1,048 MWh of battery storage at an average price of about 9.4 cents/kWh.

The contracts involve the purchase of electricity from AES Corp.'s 30-MW Waikoloa solar project with 120-MWh battery storage in Hawaii island and its 60-MW Kuihelani project with 240-MWh battery storage in Maui island at a price of 8 cents/kWh; and Clearway Energy Inc.'s 39-MW Mililani I solar project with 156-MWh battery storage in Oahu island at a price of 9 cents/kWh and its 36-MW Waiawa project with 144-MWh battery storage in Oahu island at a price of 10 cents/kWh.

The utilities also will buy electricity from 174 Power Global Corp.'s 52-MW Hoohana project with 208-MWh battery storage in Oahu island at a price of 10 cents/kWh; and Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.'s 30-MW Hale Kuawehi solar project with 120-MWh battery storage in Hawaii island at a price of 9 cents/kWh and its 15-MW Paeahu solar facility with 60-MWh battery storage in Maui island at a price of 12 cents/kWh.

"The prices for six of the seven projects are the lowest to date for renewable electricity in the state," the company said in the release. The prices are also "significantly lower" than the current cost of fossil fuel generation, which is about 15 cents/kWh.

The seven solar-plus-storage projects are the result of a procurement effort the companies began in February 2018 to expand their renewable energy portfolios.

Hawaiian Electric also plans to sign a contract for an additional 12.5-MW solar project with 50-MWh battery storage in West Oahu. The company is expected to submit the contract for regulators' approval in the following weeks.