Hawaiian Electric Company has selected the US’s largest photovoltaic (PV) installer Solarcity to develop a 15MW utility scale solar power plant on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu.
The 20-hectare plant will provide energy to residents of the island and offset up to 1.8 million gallons of oil annually. It would also reduce electricity generation costs on the island by up to US$64 million.
Construction of the plant remains subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and passing environmental and cultural reviews, with the plant earmarked for completion in late 2015.
But if approved, upon completion the park will be owned and operated by Hawaiian Electric Company. The company currently supplies around 95% of Hawaii’s population with electricity.
The O’ahu plant will be connected to Hawaiian Electric’s 46,000 Volt sub-transmission system, separately to the 12,000 Volt distribution system in place for commercial and residential rooftop PV.
John Yoshimura, SolarCity regional director for Hawaii said: “Hawaiian Electric's project is living proof that solar power can protect Hawai'i's environment and strengthen its economy at the same time by providing clean energy less expensively than power generated from fossil fuels.”
SolarCity was also recently selected to build a 27 hectare 14MW DC photovoltaic plant on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i by Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative.