March 8, 2013 - Today, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie will join representatives of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Hawaiian Electric Company in a dedication ceremony for a new five-megawatt Kalaeloa Solar Farm in West Oahu. The event is hosted by Bright Plain Renewable Energy, L.L.C., which manages the solar farm, and SunPower Corp., which designed and built the project. The Kalaeloa Solar Farm was acquired in November 2012 by an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments, L.L.C. in partnership with BPRE.
"Hawaii has growing energy demand and abundant sunshine, and it makes sense for the state to maximize our use of this clean, reliable and affordable solar resource," said Governor Abercrombie. "I applaud partners Bright Plain Renewable Energy, SunPower, Hawaiian Electric Company, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for uniting to build this project. As the largest, most productive solar farm on Oahu to date, it will have significant positive impact on the state's renewable portfolio standards goal of 40 percent by 2030."
"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 David Buzby, CEO of BPRE. "We're confident that, with SunPower's leading solar power plant technology, this project will benefit the residents of Oahu for years to come."
At the 36-acre site, SunPower installed SunPower solar panels on a SunPower® T0 Tracker system. 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.
"Solar power in Hawaii is cost competitive with other electricity sources," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner. "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, highly reliable Maxeon solar cell technology will ensure the guaranteed performance of the Kalaeloa Solar Farm."
The solar farm is the first utility-scale solar project on state land, located on 36-acres leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
"The Kalaeloa Solar Farm is the department's first large-scale, commercial venture in renewable energy," said Jobie Masagatani, chair-designate of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. "As part of Governor Abercrombie's 'New Day' plan, this project not only supplies clean, renewable energy for Hawai'i, but also helps our native Hawaiian beneficiaries by providing DHHL with much-needed revenue to continue its mission of returning native Hawaiians to the land."
"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."
Hawaiian Electric will buy the power produced by the solar farm under a fixed-price contract for 20 years. Construction on the project began in July 2012, and it was operational in December.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the solar farm will produce enough renewable power to avoid almost 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to eliminating the consumption of approximately 400,000 barrels of oil over the 20-year term of the power purchase agreement.