EnSync sells projects with Hawaii’s first solar-plus-storage power contracts

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Today Wisconsin’s EnSync Energy announced the sale of five behind-the-meter solar projects in Hawaii with power purchase agreements (PPAs) to a subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP). Among the five are three projects with energy storage, as the first ever solar-plus-storage PPAs in the state to date.

EnSync notes that the three projects include its Agile Hybrid Storage platform as well as its Matrix Energy Management system, which prioritizes electricity from the grid, from distributed generation and energy storage in real time. The projects supply residential buildings and universities on Oahu and the Island of Hawaii.

“This sale, which could be the first of its kind in the renewable energy market, provides validation of our PPA business model,” notes EnSync Energy President and CEO Brad Hansen.

The total capacity of the solar component of the five projects is 1.3 MW, and the three with energy storage total 800 megawatt-hours.

In addition to its offerings of power control and energy storage solutions, EnSync holds what it describes as a “significant” pipeline of projects in Hawaii through subsidiary Holu Energy.

This pipeline speaks to EnSync’s multifaceted business model, which includes both providing energy management systems to third parties and for projects which it develops, owns and later sells.

“Our position is different than anyone else in the marketplace,” EnSync Executive VP Dan Nordloh told pv magazine USA.

Nordloh notes that Ensync is in “A unique position to do a deep dive on customer load conditions”, and supply solutions that leverage electricity from the grid and on-site PV and battery systems to best meet the customer load profile. “We are really putting in the technology to leverage those three to supply the least expensive, most reliable electricity in real time,” states Nordloh.

In the case of PV systems paired with storage, this allows Ensync supply batteries and software solutions tailored to meet different applications, especially for behind-the-meter or microgrid installations.

“Everyone is familiar with time-of-use shifting, demand side, frequency regulation, there are probably 12-15 of those ways you can make money or save money behind-the-meter,” says Nordloh. “The more you can stack those applications, the more money you can save.”

Nordloh says that EnSync plans to periodically sell tranches of solar and storage projects from Holu’s pipeline, and he notes that a variety of investors have expressed interest in these sorts of projects.

And as this was AEP’s first purchase of solar-plus-storage projects, EnSync expects future sales to AEP and other utilities. Nordloh says that he expects utilities owning distributed energy resources “to become more and more the case.”