Hawaii’s Largest Solar PV Project Connected to the Grid

REC Solar's Largest solar PV project in Hawaii.
REC Solar's Largest solar PV project in Hawaii. Image courtesy of REC Solar.

Hawaii’s largest solar PV project has officially been been connected to the grid.  The 12 MW AC (14.5 MW DC) solar array for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) was developed by REC Solar. The utility-scale system is the largest in the state of Hawaii and REC Solar’s largest project to date.

Located in Anahola, Kaua‘i, the 60-acre PV system will generate twenty percent of the island’s annual energy needs during the daylight hours. The installation is coupled with a six megawatt lithium-ion battery system designed to smooth the integration of solar power on the grid. By generating clean energy on the island, KIUC will decrease fossil fuel imports from the mainland and save nearly $250,000 a month on operating costs alone.

A blessing and dedication ceremony will be held on November 7, 2015 to celebrate the interconnection of the record-setting array to the grid. KIUC president and CEO David Bissell and REC Solar CEO Al Bucknam will participate in the ceremony, which will include public tours of the solar farm.

“This project represents a huge step toward achieving our goal of using renewable resources to generate at least half of Kauai’s power needs by 2023,” Bissell said. “Every megawatt we can generate using the power of the sun reduces our costs and our greenhouse gas emissions.”

KIUC used project capital from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service to finance the Anahola project. The array is the second system that REC Solar has developed on Kauai. Additional REC Solar projects in Hawaii include the W.M. Keck Observatory, Turtle Bay Resort, Waimea WWTP and West Hawaii Civic Center. Most recently, REC Solar installed its fifth ground mount solar energy system for the islands’ largest tourist attraction, Dole Plantation, on Oahu.

“Hawaii is at the forefront of the electric grid transformation and solar energy is in the driver’s seat,” said Al Bucknam, REC Solar CEO. “REC has invested in understanding Hawaii’s unique market because we know commercial and utility-scale solar is an integral part of Hawaii’s ambitious 100 percent renewables goal.”

Pacific Business News named REC Solar the leading solar company in Hawaii by 2014 revenue. The company also ranked in the top five solar companies for job growth and kilowatts installed on the islands.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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