Solar portfolio to be developed on three Hawaiian Islands

Developer SPI Solar has acquired the rights to co-develop and construct 68 solar energy facilities in Hawaii totaling approximately 29 MW. The sites are spread across the islands of Oahu, Kona and Maui.

The Rosemond, California-based photovoltaic (PV) solar developer said the sites are predominately ground mount facilities with some rooftop and shade structures. All of the SEF’s are feeding directly into Hawaii’s utility power grids. In addition to the 68 projects, the agreement also allows SPI to pursue an additional 10 MW of projects that are currently in the Hawaiian Public Utility Commission’s reserve queue.

Hawaii has the largest renewable portfolio standard in the U.S., requiring 40% of the state’s energy to be derived from renewable energy by 2030. It also has a three-tier feed-in-tariff (FIT) structure for renewable energy.

All projects will be connected to the grid. Hawaii gets most of its power from diesel-fired electric generation stations and has been aggressively pursuing renewable energy in recent years. In addition to solar, it has several wind projects in operation and under development, as well as geothermal energy plants.

Almost all of the projects within the portfolio acquired by SPI meet the requirements of the Renewable Energy Tier 2 FIT offered by Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), Maui Electric Co. (MECO) and Hawaiian Electric Co. (HELCO) and are approved for development. The Hawaii Tier 2 FIT is for solar systems developed on rooftops, land or carports that are 500 kW.

“We have already solicited offers for the entire portfolio of projects upon commissioning and have entered into a Letter of Intent with a very well funded and respected buyer of solar projects. Each one of these 68 projects maps to our profitability objective and will provide significant contributions to revenue over the next 15 months,” Stephen Kircher, CEO for SPI Solar said in a statement.

SPI will begin construction on the first of the projects within the next quarter.