REC Solar wraps up 12 MW project for Hawaiian electric cooperative

REC Solar on Nov. 2 announced the interconnection of a 12-MW (ac) solar array for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) in Hawaii.

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 photovoltaic system will generate 20% of the island’s annual energy needs during the daylight hours. The installation is coupled with a 6-MW 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 Nov. 7 to celebrate the interconnection of the array to the grid. KIUC president and CEO David Bissell and REC Solar CEO Al Bucknam will participate in the ceremony.

“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 U.S. 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’s 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.”

“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.”

REC is the only renewable energy provider focused exclusively on businesses and is backed by Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), one of the largest energy companies in the world.

KIUC is a member-owned cooperative serving 30,000 customers on the island of Kauaʻi and is the only electric cooperative in Hawaii.

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.