New Stem Energy Storage Project On Oahu

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Stem, Inc., and Hawaiian Electric have collaborated to install a 1 MW / 2 MWh energy storage system on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The project will help Hawaiian businesses reduce peak demand charges, by allowing them to use stored electricity. It will also help stabilize the grid by filling in gaps created by the growth of renewable energy like solar.


Watanabe Floral has installed the first Stem system on the Hawaiian Electric Company Grid. “Watanabe has been providing flowers to the community and businesses of Hawaii for 69 years. The Stem system helps us to monitor our solar panels and electrical demand load seamlessly to reduce our energy costs. We are thrilled that Hawaiian Electric is making this technology available to our business,” explained Leon Dodson, CFO of Watanabe Floral.

The Watanabe system is 36 kilowatts, and an interconnection agreement was signed with Hawaiian Electric to connect it to the grid. (Watanabe started as a family business after WWII and has grown to the point of having over 70 employees. It has been named as Hawaii’s best florist.)

The intention is that more local businesses will be connected as well, as part of the $2.1-million pilot program supported by Energy Excelerator, Stem, and Hawaiian Electric. Energy Excelerator is affiliated with the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR).

The Honolulu Museum of Art, Menehune Water, and other Oahu organizations are set to join the energy storage project, so eventually there will be 1 MW on the customer’s side of the meter.

The Stem system detects spikes in electricity usage and rapidly shifts to electricity stored in onsite batteries to reduce costs. Real-time visualization of energy usage is also provided by Stem software so users can analyze this information and learn how to better manage their electricity consumption.

These energy storage projects in Hawaii are a big deal — they help integrate renewables by stabilizing the grid and, in this particular case, by reducing electricity costs for local businesses. The immediate benefits are obvious, but they are all stepping stones along the path toward greater energy independence in Hawaii — a state that historically has been too reliant on imported oil. Everyone who is working on these projects should be commended for their collaborative efforts.

Image Credit: Cristo Vlahos, Wiki Commons

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Jake Richardson

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