Backers hold ceremony for new 5-MW solar facility in Hawaii

Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park, one of Hawaii’s largest solar energy generation facilities, has begun generating electricity for Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu.

Following four years of development and construction, the 5-MW, utility-scale solar park was successfully tested and commissioned on Nov. 22, the project backers said in a Dec 23 statement.

The renewable power plant, which sits on a 20-acre property adjacent to the Barbers Point Golf Course in the community of Kalaeloa, is expected to reduce the fossil fuel consumption on the island. The facility is comprised of 21,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels and will generate around 9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, bringing the state one step closer to meeting its target to produce 40% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“Projects like the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park bring us closer to meeting our state’s energy goals while supporting workforce development for quality, green jobs. Public-private partnerships are key to expanding renewable energy initiatives with clear community benefits,” said Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who attended a Dec. 23 opening ceremony.

To celebrate the launch, the project development and finance team – Hanwha Q CELLS USA, Hunt Companies, Scatec Solar North America and Swinerton Renewable Energy – joined Hawaiian Electric for the ceremony and traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Hanwha Q CELLS USA acquired the project in 2012, finalized development, facilitated financing and solar module supply, and will now operate the facility for a 20-year period, with project financing provided by PNC Bank. Hunt Companies and Scatec Solar North America conceptualized the project and initiated the plant’s development in 2009.

“Partnerships like this – with government and private industry working together – are critical to achieving Hawaii’s clean energy goals,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric’s Vice President for Energy Resources and Operations.

“We are proud to be a part of such an important project and are committed to reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels,” said Moon Hwan Cha, President of Hanwha Q CELLS USA. “We look forward to operating the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park for the next two decades, and supporting a clean and reliable energy future for the people of Hawaii.”

“In Hawaii, utility-scale projects like the Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park provide direct benefits to all ratepayers through clean and low cost energy,” said Luigi Resta, CEO of Scatec Solar North America.

The Park was developed on land leased from Hunt Companies, which holds the master lease for nearly 540 acres in Kalaeloa on the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point. In November 2012, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a 20-year power-purchase agreement between the partnership and Hawaiian Electric. Hanwha Q CELLS USA owns the Park, with sale-leaseback financing through PNC Bank.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.