Renewable energy is about to get a whole lot sunnier in Hawaii. Yesterday, REC Solar announced the interconnection of the state’s largest solar project with the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) grid.
The 12 MW array will provide 20 percent of the island’s energy needs during daytime hours. It will decrease KIUC’s oil imports by 1.7 million gallons annually. It is also projected to save KIUC $250,000 a month in operating costs alone. Those are some pretty impressive numbers.
“Anahola is an important milestone toward our goal of using renewables to meet 50 percent
of Kauaʻi’s energy needs by 2023,” said Jan TenBruggencate, chairman of the cooperative’s
board of directors. “Using the sun to make electricity has multiple benefits. It reduces our
members’ costs, stabilizes our rates, keeps dollars in the local economy and contributes to
efforts to slow climate change.”
The project is not only Hawaii’s largest, it is also REC’s largest project to date. The PV system is located on 60 acres in Anahola, Kaua’i that the company leased from the state Department of Hawaiin Home Lands for 25 years. It is coupled with a six MW lithium-ion battery system which will help to maintain grid stability when solar output is decreased.
“REC Solar has more than eight years of experience in the Hawaii islands and we’ve completed more than 32 megawatts of commercial and utility projects here,” said Drew Bradley, Hawaii Regional Manager at REC Solar. “This installation is a game-changer for Kaua’i and will set a precedent for utility cooperatives across the U.S.”
By the end of 2015, 37 percent of the electricity generated on Kaua‘i will come from renewables.