14 MW (DC) solar system expected to reduce Kaua’i’s oil imports by more than 1 million barrels over its lifetime
SolarCity has announced it has been selected by Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) to build a 14-megawatt (MW) DC (12MW AC) solar facility on land owned by Grove Farm Company, Inc. The project will consist of 54,314 panels installed on 67 acres near the town of Koloa. Once complete, the solar power system is expected to generate enough power to provide approximately six percent of Kaua’i’s daily energy needs, on average. The system is also expected to reduce the utility’s oil imports by more than 1 million barrels over its lifetime.
“This is a landmark project for SolarCity and the island of Kaua’i, which is expected to reduce its oil imports by more than 1 million barrels over its lifetime,” said Jon Yoshimura, director of Government Affairs for SolarCity in Hawai’i. “With its goal to generate 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2023, KIUC is setting an example for utilities across the nation.”
Pending the necessary local and state regulatory approvals, KIUC and SolarCity expect to commence construction in July 2013 and bring the project online in 2014. The SolarCity project is one of three solar projects in development by KIUC that together will total 30 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to meet roughly 50 percent of the island’s daytime electricity demand. KIUC has committed to using renewable resources to generate 50 percent of its energy overall by 2023.
“This project shows our board’s commitment to putting KIUC’s renewable energy plan into action,” said David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC. “Our portfolio approach toward the development of solar, biomass, and hydropower is producing results. KIUC’s members want to see leadership in getting us off imported oil and this project is a significant step in accomplishing that goal.”
Grove Farm, headquartered in Lihu’e, owns approximately 40,000 acres on Kaua’i, making it one of Kaua’i’s largest private landowners. In its transition from a sugar plantation to a community development and property management company, Grove Farm has remained focused on building a more sustainable island community.
"We have invested a lot of time, energy, and money to create renewable energy opportunities across our lands to help move our island off its dependence on fossil fuels," said Michael H. Tresler, Senior Vice President of Grove Farm. "We are proud to team up with SolarCity and KIUC to make this happen on Kaua’i for the benefit of our island residents."
SolarCity serves Hawai’i from its operations center in Mililani. The company’s other notable Hawai’i projects include solar power systems at Lend Lease’s Hickam Communities at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam adjacent to Honolulu, the Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Hawai’i, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and multiple Hawai’i Department of Transportation sites, including Kaua’i’s main airport in Lihu’e.