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Hawaii Congressional Delegation Announces More Than $3.4 Million In Renewable Energy Research Funding

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation today announced more than $3.4 million in Department of Energy funding that will allow Hawaiian Electric Company to improve electric grid technology, which will facilitate more renewable energy generation.

“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% 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 continues to lead the nation in renewable energy generation,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “As the state continues to move toward its goal of generating 100% clean energy by 2045, this grant will help to begin long overdue work to modernize our grid, which is necessary as we work toward increasing our use of solar power, reducing our carbon emissions, strengthening our energy security, and improving our electrical infrastructure

“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 Representative 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, which operate utilities on Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Hawaii Island, 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 funding will go toward research and demonstration projects that will improve Hawaiian Electric’s ability to accommodate more rooftop solar panels on homes and businesses and greater use of large batteries and other systems to store power for when the sun is not shining.