Installations of PV plus battery systems have risen by 1,830% on the Hawaii island of Oahu helped in part to falling prices, according to a report from the state’s department of business economic development and tourism released on January 31.
The report, based on building permit data released by the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, found 773 solar plus storage permits were granted last year, up from 40 in 2016.
It marks a clear sign that the state is rapidly embracing battery storage as it looks to move to 100% renewable energy generation by 2045.
The report said the average cost of residential PV and battery system permits in 2017 was $29,475 (compared to $32,065 in 2008), while the median value of the permits remained flat at $27,552 compared to $27,581 in 2008.
It also found that installing PV together with storage was on average $7,700 cheaper than installing the PV and battery system separately — the average cost of separate battery and PV permits was $12,799 and $24,407 respectively.
Luis Salaveria, a director at the department of business economic development and tourism said: “In 2012, the average value of PV permits was nearly $40,000 for PV installation alone. Now, the average permit value for PV and battery together installation is below $30,000, so it’s a good investment for families to install PV and battery storage.”
Of the residential permits, 731 were new, and 33 were storage additions to existing PV systems. There were also seven new commercial projects, and two that were battery additions to existing commercial PV systems.
Since October 2015, the State Public Utilities Commission has limited the number of new grid-connected solar PV customers, which it has been claimed has made battery-connected PV systems a more attractive option to end-users.
Studies have showed that by the end of June 2017, 19% of Oahu single-family homes and town-homes had installed rooftop PV systems.
Other areas popular with residential PV and battery system permits include Waipahu (61) and Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale (59).
The first PV battery installation granted a building permit in Hawaii was issued in February 2008. Since then, the annual number of PV plus battery building permits has been small — around five a year, with a peak of 10 in 2013.
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