In this article, Joti Mangat, Marketing Director for Rising Sun Solar LLC, shares his thoughts on the launch of the new solar facility on Kauai.
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited by Tesla Inc. to the traditional Hawaiian blessing for the new Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) solar + storage power plant. The project is the largest of its kind in the world and showcases the scalability, and reliability, of Tesla Energy’s Powerpack commercial and industrial-grade storage device.
Look at that sea of solar. That’s approx. 55,000 panels, or 13 megawatts generating capacity.
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Those white blocks are a few of the 272 battery packs that store and deliver 52 megawatt-hours of solar energy to the island of Kauai, as the sun goes down each day. The facility will generate about 10% of the island’s energy need, and will immediately reduce fossil-fuel usage by about 1.6 million gallons per year.
As recently as 2014, Kauai generated 90% of its energy by burning fossil fuels. By 2016, KIUC has driven that down to 50%.
The island, its people and leaders are straight up pioneers in the history of renewable energy. The project is the largest of its kind in the world. But they are more than that. KIUC is owned by its 24,000 customers. It is a working model of successful decentralization. A shining beacon of deliberative democracy and economic planning.
Kumu Sabra Kauka officiates at the blessing of the Tesla battery storage facility, Wednesday as J.B. Straubel, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Co-Founder of Tesla Inc, Jan Tenbruggencate and David Bissell of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Gov. David Ige, Rep. James Tokioka and Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi look on.
In case you didn’t get it yet, the solar + storage moment has arrived in Hawaii.