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Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), a real estate development firm and Hawaii’s fourth largest private land owner, has announced the completion of its 6MW Port Allen Solar Facility on Kauai island in Hawaii.

The Port Allen Solar Facility has been connected to the grid and began delivering power to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) on 7 December. According to A&B, the plant represents Hawaii’s largest solar generation plant to date and will generate an estimated 10.2GWh of electricity annually.

The facility has been built on 8 hectares of A&B owned land adjacent to the Port Allen Station power plant which is owned by KIUC. It was developed by A&B’s subsidiary McBryde Sugar Company and was constructed in less than nine months from receipt of approval of the 20-year power purchase agreement between McBryde and KIUC.

The facility is equipped with polycrystalline PV modules and a 3MW battery energy storage system (BESS) installed by KIUC at the point of interconnection to the grid. The BESS facilitates greater stability on the KIUC system by maintaining a predictable flow of power from the Port Allen solar facility and other intermittent generation resources.

"The Port Allen Solar facility, along with our existing hydroelectric facilities at Wainiha and Kalaheo, will generate nearly 40,000MWh of clean, renewable energy each year, making A&B the leading generator of renewable energy on Kauai," said Christopher J. Benjamin, President and Chief Operating Officer of A&B.

"Completion of this facility represents a significant step forward in KIUC's portfolio approach to meeting our aggressive long-term renewable energy goals. By utilising a portfolio of solar, hydroelectric and biomass fueled projects, and a combination of both cooperative and independently-owned facilities, we believe we will be able to meet at least half of Kauai's power needs with renewable sources by 2023," said David Bissell, President and Chief Executive Officer of KIUC.

The Port Allen facility is the first of three utility-scale solar PV projects that will come on line on Kauai over the next two years, Bissell added. "The A&B solar facility will supply almost 10% of KIUC's daytime electrical load and annually produce about 3% of the total energy used on Kauai. By 2015, KIUC expects to draw 50% of its daytime electrical load from PV systems, the highest percentage of solar on any grid in the US."