KIUC Pilot Program to Offer Solar Time-of-Use Rates
News Release from KIUC
Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, HI – 9/22/15 – Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) will conduct a pilot program that offers discounted electric rates to a group of residential customers to encourage them to shift their energy use to the daylight hours to take advantage of the utility’s solar resources.
Under the plan approved by the Public Utilities Commission on Sept. 21, the objectives of KIUC’s Time-of-Use Solar Pilot Program are to broaden community participation in renewable energy programs and reduce the potential for solar energy to be curtailed.
The program will offer a 25 percent discount on standard electric rates from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s a reduction of about 8 cents from the September kilowatt hour rate of 31 cents.
Participation in the one-year program will be limited to 300 residential customers with smart meters. They will be recruited to ensure diversity of household sizes and patterns of electric use, including customers who, for various reasons, are unable to install rooftop solar systems.
With more than 50 megawatts of electricity generated during the day by utility-scale and rooftop photovoltaic systems on Kaua‘i, a key measure of the program’s success is the ability of customers to move a significant amount of their energy use from night to day to take advantage of the lower rates, a practice known as “shifting load.”
If sufficient load shifting occurs, KIUC could avoid having an oversupply of solar during the day, a situation that will lead to curtailing, or limiting, the amount of solar allowed on the grid.
Shifting load would also mean there’s less demand for electricity at night, allowing KIUC to power down some of its oil-fired generators.
Each participant will receive a digital display that monitors real-time usage and a $200 payment toward the installation of a water heater timer or any other device that facilitates load shifting.
KIUC will collect and analyze usage data from each participant before, during and after the experiment to determine the extent to which their consumption profile changes. That data will be used to help KIUC determine whether the program will be expanded to include all customers, potentially including commercial users.
Recruitment of participants is expected to begin in October with the program starting in the first quarter of 2016 and ending in early 2017.
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Kauaʻi Utility Signs Deal With SolarCity for First Dispatchable Solar Storage System
Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, HI – 09/09/15 – Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY) for electricity from the first utility-scale solar array and battery storage system designed to supply power to the grid in the evening, when demand is highest.
The proposed SolarCity project next to KIUC’s Kapaia power plant is believed to be the first utility-scale system in the U.S. to provide dispatchable solar energy, meaning that the utility can count on electricity being available when it’s needed, even hours after the sun goes down.
The 52 MWh battery system will feed up to 13 megawatts of electricity onto the grid to “shave” the amount of conventional power generation needed to meet the evening peak, which lasts from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. By using the solar energy stored in the battery instead of diesel generators, KIUC will reduce its use of imported fossil fuels and also cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the terms of the 20-year contract, KIUC will pay SolarCity a lower rate than the current cost of conventional generation and only slightly more than the cost of energy from KIUC’s two existing 12 megawatt solar arrays, whose output is available only during the day.
“KIUC has been investigating energy storage options for more than two years and price has always been the biggest challenge,” said David Bissell, President and CEO of KIUC. “This is a breakthrough project on technology and on price that enables us to move solar energy to the peak demand hours in the evening and reduce the amount of fossil fuel we’re using.”
“SolarCity is excited to bring the first dispatchable solar storage system to the island of Kaua‘i. Hawai‘i has been and continues to be at the forefront of new technology and research for solar and storage,” said Jon Yoshimura, Director of Policy and Electricity Markets for Solar City. “This solution will allow for more efficient load balancing and will reduce dependence on fossil fuel-based power.”
Pending state and county approvals, the array and battery storage facility will be built on 50 acres of land owned by Grove Farm Company, Inc. adjacent to KIUC’s Kapaia power station off Mā‘alo Road, just north of Līhu‘e.
KIUC has requested an accelerated timetable for approval by the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission. To qualify for federal investment tax credits that will substantially reduce the cost of the project, construction work must begin by April 2016 so the project can be in commercial operation by December 31, 2016.
SolarCity was the contractor on KIUC’s first 12-megawatt solar array in Kōloa, which went into commercial operation in September 2014 and supplies about 5 percent of Kaua‘i’s electricity.
KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 33,000 customers on the island of Kaua‘i. Formed in 2002 and governed by a nine-member, elected board of directors, KIUC is one of 930 electric co-ops serving more than 36 million members in 47 states.
SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company makes solar energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 19 states. Visit the company online at www.solarcity.com and follow the company on Facebook & Twitter.
The 12 megawatt Kōloa solar array owned by Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative was built by SolarCity and went into operation in 2014. SolarCity plans to build a larger array at Kapaia with a unique battery energy storage system. Photo by KIUC
Raw b-roll of Kōloa dedication: https://vimeo.com/107302020 by HawaiiStream