Key takeaways


rue to its pioneering spirit in renewable energy, Hawaii proudly fires up its most extensive solar-plus-storage project to date. The Kūihelani solar-plus-storage facility, now fully operational, marks a big leap forward in Hawaii's clean energy game. So stick around with Sun Value, as we dive into the features, benefits, and what this means for Hawaii's power grid.

Solar Farm

Kuihelani Solar-plus-Storage facility. Source: AES Hawaiʻi

What is a Solar-Plus-Storage Facility?

A solar-plus-storage plant is a setup that combines photovoltaic (PV) panels with energy storage systems, typically using lithium-ion batteries. This pairing allows to harness extra solar power generated during daylight and distribute it during peak consumption times or when the sun isn't out. The solar-plus-storage approach doesn't just make the most of renewable energy, it also elevates the overall grid stability and reliability.

Kūihelani Project: An Overview

The Kūihelani solar-plus-storage facility, the biggest in Hawaii so far, is a cutting-edge initiative that marries solar energy production with battery storage. Nestled on a massive 450-acre lot in central Maui, between Kūihelani Highway and Maui Veterans Highway, its high output PV panels generate a strong 60 MW AC of clean, renewable energy. This productivity is backed by a 240 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system, promising a dependable and nonstop flow of electricity.

Key Features

  • Capacity: 60 MW AC of high efficiency PV panels
  • Battery Storage: 240 MWh lithium-ion
  • Coverage: Enough to power 27,000 homes, meeting 15% of Maui's energy needs
  • Dual Use: The project area is also available for agricultural use

A Peek into the Benefits

Boosting the Economy

The Kūihelani project not only moves Hawaii closer to its renewable energy targets but also turbocharges the local economy. Nearly 300 employment positions were generated during its building stage, pumping an impressive $68 million into Maui's financial system. But it doesn’t stop at immediate cash flow; it also sets the stage for ongoing growth and economic steadiness in the region.

Pocket Relief

Did you know that Hawaii residents are hit with the highest average electricity prices in the U.S.? It's a whopping 38.70 cents per kWh—three times the national average! Now, the Kūihelani project steps in, generating power at only 8 cents per kWh. You can expect significantly lower electricity bills, leading to substantial savings and financial ease for many households in Maui.

Better Energy Stability

The facility's 240 MWh battery energy storage system is pivotal in elevating energy security. Holding onto the surplus solar energy produced during day hours, it can guarantee a consistent supply of electricity during heavy demand hours and once the sun goes down. This feature is especially critical for isolated island communities such as Maui, where there's a high dependency on imported fossil fuels and a constant risk of supply interruptions.

Environmental Perks

The eco-impact of the Kūihelani facility is huge. By generating clean, green, renewable energy, this project is taking out the need to import a heavy 2 million barrels of oil. That's a massive decrease in reliance on fossil fuels—especially important for Hawaii, where oil imports are costly and environment-harming.

Furthermore, the facility is meticulously planned to keep its environmental impact low, with AES, the developer behind Kuihelani, diligently cutting down the project site size by 35% to make the best use of the land without causing unnecessary harm.

Use your own personal savings calculation to shop and compare top providers

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Community Involvement and Support

The project took shape thanks to the large contribution from the community. AES Hawai‘i President Sandra Larsen underlined the importance of embracing the suggestions of local stakeholders. "Kūihelani Solar-plus-Storage exemplifies what is possible for powering our future when you combine an exceptional renewable energy project with community-minded partners to provide an essential service for living and working in Hawaii ", she noted.

Larsen also emphasized the project's broad impact, adding, “The end result is that Maui’s families and businesses are going to benefit from having a state-of-the-art, dual-use, renewable-energy facility that will make a substantial contribution to supporting their island’s energy demands at a very low cost over the next 25 years.”

Turning Sunlight into Energy: Hawaii's Story

The roots of Hawaii's renewable energy efforts can be traced back to several decades ago. Initiated by the oil crisis of the 70s, the islands began to look for energy alternatives, which resulted in the adoption of solar water heating systems. During the 1980s, state tax credits made it easier and more attractive for homeowners to switch to solar energy.

Fast forward to the 2000s—a time that witnessed a big boom in the solar market. Thanks to the decreasing cost of solar energy over time, energy efficient solar panels have become the go-to renewable energy solution for Hawaiians. The big game-changer was the 2008 Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), an ambitious program that aimed to fuel 70% of energy needs through clean sources by 2030, with solar power as the key player.

The Aloha State set a precedent in 2015 by committing to power the state entirely with renewable energy by 2045. This pioneering decision has resulted in substantial financial backing towards renewable energy projects such as community initiatives and extensive solar farms.

Solar in Hawaii: Today and Tomorrow

Hawaii is catching the solar wave in a big way. As the Energy Information Administration (EIA) highlights, Hawaii harnessed 31% of its total energy from eco-friendly sources in 2023. The star of the show, indeed, was solar power, sparking up to 19% of the state's overall electricity grid.

Furthermore, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) confirms that Hawaii has successfully installed a solar capacity of 1,925 MW, enough to power 513,000 households. This solid performance pushes Hawaii to the 22nd position in the national solar adoption ranking.

So, what lies ahead for Hawaii? The state's geographical position receives an immense amount of sunlight, making it a prime location for harnessing solar energy. Add to this the high electricity prices, and you get a scenario where low cost solar panels turn into an attractive and money-saving solution.

With the debut of the Kūihelani solar-plus-storage unit, Hawaii's solar energy progress is speeding up, promising a greener and more cost-effective future for its citizens. Adding to the excitement, AES is already making strides with the second phase of the Kūihelani Solar project in Maui. This new endeavor, with a capacity of 40 MW and storage of 160 MWh, is scheduled to be up and running in 2027.

Kūihelani solar-plus-storage unit on the map

Source: AES Hawaiʻi


The Kūihelani Solar-Plus-Storage facility is not just an impressive showcase of technology; it's a shining example of Hawaii's steadfast dedication to fostering an eco-friendly future. By leveraging solar power and high-tech battery storage, it supplies energy to thousands of homes and sets a new standard for affordable, community-supported renewable energy projects. Furthermore, it paves the way for cost-effective, community-back renewable energy initiatives.


Key takeaways


Hawaii has launched its largest solar-plus-storage project, the Kūihelani facility, marking a significant milestone in renewable energy. SunValue explores what makes this facility special.

The Largest Solar-Plus-Storage Plant in Hawaii Goes Live

Hawaii has activated its biggest solar-plus-storage project, the Kūihelani facility. Located on 450 acres in Maui, it features 60 MW AC of high-efficiency PV panels and a 240 MWh lithium-ion battery storage system. This setup powers 27,000 homes and meets 15% of Maui's energy needs.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 60 MW AC
  • Battery Storage: 240 MWh lithium-ion
  • Coverage: Powers 27,000 homes


  • Economic Boost: Created 300 jobs and injected $68 million into Maui's economy.
  • Cost Savings: Generates power at 8 cents/kWh compared to Hawaii’s average of 38.70 cents/kWh.
  • Energy Stability: Provides consistent electricity supply, reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels.
  • Environmental Impact: Reduces the need for 2 million barrels of oil.

Future Prospects:

With Kūihelani operational, Hawaii's renewable energy future looks promising. The project sets a new standard for affordable, community-backed renewable energy initiatives.

Jun 21, 2024
Solar Installers Near Me

More from 

Solar Installers Near Me


View All

Get Accurate & Competitive Quotes in Minutes

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.