Solar panels are great because they produce power without filling the air with pollution. The bad news is that once the sun goes down they become pretty useless. But Tesla and Hawaii have a solution that’ll use the sun’s rays both during the day and the night.
The Kapaia project is a combination of a 13 MW SolarCity solar farm installation in the Hawaiian island of Kauai and a Powerpack storage facility with 52 MWh of total capacity. The beauty of the new facility, in terms of the specific needs of the sun-soaked island in the Pacific, is that it can capture energy from the sun during peak production day hours, and then keep that power ready for peak consumption hours at night.
This is an innovational process for solar power generation, made possible by Tesla (American automaker, energy storage company and solar panel manufacturer) in partnership with the KIUC (Kauai Island Utility Cooperative). The station, along with Kauai’s other renewable resource solutions including wind and biomass, won’t completely keep the island from using fossil fuels but it will temper the need.
In addition to using Tesla’s station to battle the island’s incredibly high electric bills, it’s also part of a long-term Hawaii-state plan to be completely powered by renewable energy sources by 2045. Kauai has its own goal of using 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.
According to Tesla and the KIUC, the 45 acre Kapaia project will reduce the use of fossil fuels by 1.6 million gallons a year. Tesla’s hoping that the example of what it’s done in Kauai will act as a roadmap for what it can do for other commercial energy providers around the world.