Skip to main content
  • Our products Our products Our products
  • Sustainability Sustainability Sustainability
  • Careers Careers Careers
  • Investors Investors Investors
  • Meet AES Meet AES Meet AES
  • My AES
    Choose your location
    Choose location

    AES Global

    AES Local

    Andes Argentina Brasil Bulgaria Chile Colombia Dominicana El Salvador Hawai‘i Indiana México Miami Valley Lighting Ohio Panama Puerto Rico Vietnam
    Search AES

    New clean energy Kauai

    Solar panels Kauai Hawaii
    Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative sets a new standard for carbon free energy together with AES
    Lawai solar project


    About the partnership

    Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) made history together with AES by inaugurating the Lāwa’i Solar and Energy Storage Project, creating a new model for delivering large-scale renewable energy. The first of-its-kind DC-coupled solution, dubbed “The PV Peaker Plant” delivers reliable, readily dispatchable carbon free power through the world’s largest operational solar-plus-storage system. 

    lawai solar ocean


    KIUC: A small utility leading the renewable transition

    Kauai has one of the highest electricity rates in the U.S subject to intense price volatility due to its reliance on imported fossil fuels. KIUC launched a strategic initiative to generate 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 in an effort to reduce its power cost, decrease its use of imported fossil fuels and increase the amount of energy generated from Kaua’i’s own resources. Their models showed that the only opportunity to incorporate additional solar without creating grid stability was through the addition of energy storage.

    • Hawaii has highest electricity rates in the U.S.
    • Dependent on imported fossil fuels 
    • Price volatility 
    • KIUC serves 33,000 customers
    Kauai island map
    solar site


    Challenges we solved together

    In order to meet their ambitious long-term clean energy goals, KIUC needed an energy partner capable of pioneering a new solution that challenged conventional wisdom in the electric industry at the time, which asserted solar-plus-storage solutions could only perform a simple energy shift utilizing a four-hour battery, at maximum. Any solution needed to be more cost-effective than fossil fuel, increase renewables generation, and solve KIUC’s dispatchability and intermittent power challenges. 

    hawaii solar


    Working together to create a better solution

    Like most solar-plus-storage procurements at the time, KIUC’s initial RFP solicited energy shifting solar-plus-storage solutions. Through the evaluation of KIUC’s pain points, AES and KIUC worked together to design a custom solar-plus-storage system utilizing a five-hour battery and load-following model that maximized the delivery of clean energy from the PV system and minimized both total oil consumption and use of inefficient fuel peaking facilities.  

    KIUC before and after


    Before and after: The impact load following model

    energy plant


    To ensure the project’s success, AES designed a 240 kW PV + 500 kWh BESS scale-model plant at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Boulder, CO. 


    11%Kauai’s total power consumption

    3.7Mgallons of diesel offset annually

    2019EEI Award Winner

    100%Kauai operates on 100% renewables throughout the day


    lawai solar panels
    • Outperforms traditional fossil fuel plant
    • Increases grid reliability 
    • KIUC expected to reach 80% renewables by 2025
    • Integrates firm renewables in solar-saturated market
    • Stabilizes price volatility



     “Now that the Lāwa’i project is online, as much as 40% of our evening peak power will be supplied by stored solar energy. I think it’s safe to say this is a unique achievement in the nation and possibly the world. Replacing fossil fuels with stable, lower-priced renewables helps us keep rates as low as possible for our members.”  

    David Bissell
    KIUC President and CEO


    hawaii solar panels

    Looking to the future

    The PV Peaker Plant is a blueprint on how to provide flexible, renewable generation in markets struggling with increasing cost-effective renewables penetration that not only deliver firm, renewable energy, but also modernize the grid. 



    lawai solar ocean

    Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative sets a new standard for carbon free energy together with AES

    People Working

    How Google is using data centers to accelerate the global adoption of clean energy

    panama worker

    Energas and AES break the Dominican Republic’s reliance on oil

    5b solar panels

    5B and AES unfold the power of solar energy

    Back to top Products
  • Our offerings
  • Your profile
  • Sustainability
  • Clean growth & innovation
  • Our people
  • Community partnerships
  • Sustainability resources
  • Careers
  • Meet our people
  • Search jobs
  • For the press
  • Press releases
  • News & Events
  • Media kit
  • Presentation & webcasts
  • Investors
  • News & events
  • Reports & filings
  • Stock information
  • Investor resources
  • Governance
  • For partners
  • Partnerships
  • Landowners
  • Suppliers
  • About us
  • Our history
  • Our leadership
  • Global x local
  • Contact us
  • Office locations
  • Ethics & compliance
  • Copyright © 2009-2024 The AES Corporation. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy

    Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without the express written permission of The AES Corporation is prohibited. AES and the AES logo are trademarks of The AES Corporation. 

    Jump back to top