HECO and NRG sign PPA for Hawaii’s largest solar project

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Upon completion, the 49MW Kawailoa solar array will be the larges solar facility in the entire state. Source: Flickr/Bevis Chin

Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) and New Jersey’s NRG have signed a 22-year PPA for what will be the largest solar facility in the state.

The 49MW Kawailoa solar array will be located on the North Shore of the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, on Kamehameha schools-owned land near Haleiwa. It will be built and owned by NRG, targeted to come online in 2019.

HECO will purchase the electricity generated by the facility at 10.99 cents/kWh, with use of the state’s tax credit.

The agreement awaits approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

In addition to the Kawailoa solar facility, HECO filed PPAs for the 14.7MW Lanikuhana and the 45.9MW Waipio solar facilities – also to be built and owned by NRG and scheduled to come online in 2019. All three solar projects were originally proposed for SunEdison and acquired by NRG in November 2016 during the former’s bankruptcy proceedings. The current PPA prices were negotiated below the previous SunEdison prices – which were around 13.5 cents/kWh.

“Reaching this agreement on Kawailoa Solar is another big step in our renewable energy plans for Oahu,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Our goal is always to bring better value to our customers, who will now get the benefits of lower prices for clean, renewable energy over the life of our contracts.”

Cumulatively, all three projects will total nearly 110MW of solar generation. The utility aims to hit 100% renewable energy generation by 2040; five years earlier than the initial target. These projects also mark NRG’s entry into the Hawaiian utility-scale solar market.

“Partnering with Hawaiian Electric on Lanikuhana, Waipio and Kawailoa is a proud moment for our company,” said Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Renewables. “We're looking forward to moving ahead with construction and bringing the projects online as soon as possible.”

In other news, residential solar on the Island has been booming; with HECO adding 20MW to its Customer Grid Supply (CGS) rooftop solar scheme earlier this month. 

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