Hawaii Utility Gets $3.4M for Renewable Energy Research

More than $3.4 million in Department of Energy funding was announced by the Hawaii Congressional Delegation.

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Forrestal Roof Top PV System
Forrestal Roof Top PV System

Washington, D.C.—The Hawaii Congressional Delegation awarded more than $3.4 million in research funding to the Department of Energy in order to allow Hawaiian Electric Company to better electric grid technology and ultimately facilitate the generation of more renewable energy.

“Today’s award builds on Hawaii’s record as a state on the forefront of renewable energy research,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “This competitive funding will allow Hawaiian Electric Company to invest in and test technology that will allow more Hawaii families to take advantage of rooftop solar systems and bring our state closer to reaching its goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

“We have all been frustrated by the technical challenges that have slowed down the amount of PV that can be put on the grid,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This project is exciting because it breaks new ground and is a fundamental shift in the design of our grids. This innovation will allow more customers to send electricity back to the grid without destabilizing the system. That’s a real positive for renewable energy.”

Hawaii is one of the leading states in the generation of renewable energy. More so, Hawaii has set its goal to generate 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

“I am pleased to see that the Department of Energy and the Hawaiian Electric Company recognize that alternative forms of energy generation such as photovoltaics are what our county and our state must embrace to achieve a renewable energy future,” said Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01). “I myself have rooftop solar installed at my home as I strongly believe that we all must do our part to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. I am excited to see HECO and its many local high tech development partners use this program to create and deploy technologies that will modernize and maintain a stable grid that can result in increased capacity for more distributed renewable energy generation.”

Hawaiian Electric Company received a $1 million Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium grant focused on Hawaii, $2.4 million as part of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, and is a partner on a $3.8 million Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium project. The funds will be used in research and demonstration projects aimed at improving Hawaiian Electric’s power to install more rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses, as well as greater use of large batteries and other systems to store power during cloudy days.

Image courtesy of the Department of Energy