Tesla kicks off new solar-battery electricity system in Hawaii

Hawaii is benefitting from a new Tesla solar project that includes lithium-ion batteries to store solar-generated electricity during the day, then provide it to customers at night, Kallanish Energy reports.

The California-based electric car maker began operations on the solar-and-electric-storage project earlier this month.

CEO Elon Musk is coupling solar power with Tesla batteries to provide a more reliable energy source and to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

The Kapaia installation on the island of Kauai includes a 13-megawatt solar system and 52 megawatt-hours of battery storage.

There are nearly 55,000 solar panels on 65 acres and 272 power packs that store electricity during the day when the sun is out. Those packs then produce island electricity at night.

The new solar-and-battery system is expected to save about 1.6 million gallons of diesel fuel per year, officials have said.

Tesla has a 20-year contract with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative to provide electricity for 13.9 cents per kilowatthour, down from 15.48 cents per kilowatt-hour the island utility previous paid for electricity.

At night, the cooperative had relied on diesel-powered generators to produce electricity for its 33,000 members on the island.

The new system was developed by Tesla and SolarCity, the cokpany acquired by Tesla last fall for $2.6 billion.

Hawaii, with the highest electric bills in the U.S., wants to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045.