D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, L.L.C. (DESRI) and Bright Plain Renewable Energy, L.L.C. (BPRE) today announced the acquisition of the Kalaeloa solar farm from SunPower Corp.(NASDAQ: SPWR). The 5-megawatt (AC) solar farm was developed by SunPower in West Oahu, Hawaii, and has been acquired by an affiliate of DESRI in partnership with BPRE.
Construction on the project began in July of this year, and is expected to be complete next month. Hawaiian Electric will buy the power produced by the solar farm under a fixed-price contract for 20 years. Rabobank, a global financial services leader serving the renewable energy and food and agribusiness industries, is providing both construction and term loans for the project.
"Solar is a valuable source of power and attractive investment opportunity, particularly in Hawaii, as it cleanly and reliably serves our growing energy demand without imported fossil fuels, while providing a predictable, low risk return to investors over a long period of time," said William Lee, president of BPRE. "We're confident that, with SunPower's leading solar power plant expertise, this project will benefit the residents of Oahu for years to come."
"Solar power in Hawaii is cost competitive with other electricity sources," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. "This project will generate power economically for Hawaiian Electric's customers every year for the next 20 years. With more than one gigawatt of SunPower solar power plants operating worldwide, our high-efficiency technology will ensure the guaranteed performance of the Kalaeloa solar farm."
SunPower is installing high-efficiency SunPower solar panels on a SunPower T0 Tracker® system situated on 36 acres owned by the State of Hawaii Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The Tracker positions solar panels to follow the sun's movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while significantly reducing land requirements.
"This project will contribute clean, renewable solar power to Oahu while generating welcome revenues to support the important work we do on behalf of native Hawaiians," said Jobie Masagatani, chair-designate of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
"We welcome the completion of this solar facility, part of Hawaiian Electric's continuing effort to add renewable energy to our island grids," said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president. "Hawaii leads the nation in solar watts per person, much of it generated by customer-sited roof-top PV arrays. This and other utility-scale projects will help Hawaii maintain our solar leadership and reduce our unsustainable and expensive dependence on imported oil."
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the solar farm will produce enough renewable power to avoid almost 11,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to removing 37,600 cars from Hawaii's roads over the 20-year term of the power purchase agreement.