EGEB: Hawaii’s solar capacity soared in 2019

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Hawaii’s solar capacity grew by 21% in 2019, its largest-ever annual increase.
  • The 50th World Economic Forum launches with conflicting messages from Trump and Thunberg.
  • Enevate announces an extreme fast-charging lithium-ion battery.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Hawaii’s solar surge

Hawaii saw its greatest growth in solar capacity in 2019. Maui Now reports:

Total solar capacity surged 21%, increasing from 745 cumulative installed megawatts in 2018 to 902 megawatts at the end of 2019. It was the largest one-year increase since [power supplier Hawaiian Electric] began tracking solar capacity in 2005.

There are now an estimated 3.5 million solar panels producing electricity on the company’s five grids.

Hawaii has embraced solar due to the island’s high electricity costs and capacity for sunshine. The state has one of the highest per-capita rates of solar power in the US. Maui Now says that Hawaii leads the US in rooftop solar adoption.

The state previously had a 30% federal tax credit with no caps for homeowners who installed solar PV systems. This year, that credit dropped to 26%. Next year it will drop to 22%, and in 2022, the tax credit will be terminated.

In 2019, 19% of residential customers in Hawaiian Electric’s five-island territory were using rooftop solar, up from 18% in 2018. (As of July 2019, Hawaii’s population was 1,415,872.)

Residential rooftop solar systems installed on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai
rose to 77,801 in 2019 from 74,331 in 2018, up 4.6%.

On Oahu, 37% of single-family homes now have rooftop solar; on Hawaii Island, 21%; in Maui County, 27%.

WEF’s climate discourse

Climate activist Greta Thunberg opened a panel discussion at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos today. The WEF’s agenda is focused heavily on climate change. She said:

Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop.

Donald Trump also gave a speech in which he dismissed climate activists’ message of the need to stop using fossil fuels in order to slow global warming. He said:

We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.

Trump is an advocate of coal and gas, dislikes wind farms, and pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement.

Fast-charging li-ion battery

Lithium-ion battery company Enevate, who was selected by Cleantech Group to be on the 2020 Global Cleantech 100 list of companies expected to make the most impact in the next five to 10 years, has announced a new extreme fast-charging lithium-ion battery.

According to Enevate, the new XFC-Energy technology achieves five-minute charging to 75% capacity with 800Wh/L cell energy density. Today’s conventional large-format Li-ion EV cells are at 500-600Wh/L and typically take over one hour to charge.

John Goodenough, who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and sits on the technical advisory board of Enevate, said:

I salute the Enevate team for reaching this next important step in fulfilling the company’s mission to develop and commercialize innovative battery technologies to accelerate the adoption of electrified mobility.

Enevate is working to commercialize its technology for 2024-2025 model-year electric vehicles.

Photo: Rising Sun Solar

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.