Hawaiian Electric seeking approval for 49-MW solar project

Hawaiian Electric is seeking approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission by July 3, or as soon as reasonably practicable, of a Power Purchase Agreement with a 49-MW photovoltaic project proposed by Kawailoa Solar LLC (KS), which is to be located in Waialua on the island of Oahu.

Hawaiian Electric applied for this approval on Dec. 4, saying: “Time is of the essence under the PPA, and KS’s ability to achieve ‘Construction Milestones’ is critically important. KS states that a timely decision and order would help to ensure that the Project meets its anticipated commercial operations date and qualifies for the federal Investment Tax Credit, which is scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, and upon which the Project’s low-cost pricing is based. The ‘Guaranteed Commercial Operations Date’ will be prior to the expiration of the Investment Tax Credit, at the end of 2016, with the specific date to be agreed upon after completion of the interconnection requirements study. Under the PPA, KS may, for a period of 90 days following July 3, 2015 declare the PPA null and void if Commission approval is not obtained by such date.”

Kawailoa Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kawailoa Solar Holdings LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of First Wind Solar Portfolio LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ultimate parent company, First Wind Holdings LLC.

The solar facility will be approximately four miles northeast of Haleiwa town, on the north shore of the island of Oahu, within part of Kamehameha School’s Kawailoa Plantation. The facility will be located on approximately 304 acres within a larger lot owned by Kamehameha Schools. The overall lot (Lot A) is approximately 10,787 acres. The facility would be co-located with the existing Kawailoa wind farm, which is also located within Lot A.

The application noted: “In 2012, the Kawailoa wind farm was constructed within the Kawailoa Plantation lands. Given the relatively minimal footprint of the wind farm facilities, there is ample land remaining for the proposed solar farm. The proposed solar facilities would not conflict with the existing wind farm facilities and have been designed to utilize existing infrastructure, including the existing network of onsite roads and Hawaiian Electric’s existing interconnection facilities.”

On Jan. 28, Hawaiian Electric and the Division of Consumer Advocacy of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs filed with the commission a proposed review schedule for the application.

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.