REC Solar and Hawaiian Electric Co. broke ground on a 20-megawatt (MW), fixed-tilt solar facility, located at the U.S. Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex. Once completed, the West Loch solar farm will produce the lowest-cost renewable energy in the state at less than 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
REC Solar will be building the 80,760-panel solar facility, the first grid-scale solar project to be owned and operated by Hawaiian Electric. Over its expected 25-year lifespan, the solar farm will save Hawaiian Electric customers approximately $109 million, reducing the utility’s use of imported oil by 76,000 barrels annually. The facility will feed into the island’s electric grid and serve all customers on Oʻahu.
In addition to the energy savings, the solar facility will be built on 102-acres of U.S. Navy-owned land. In exchange for the land, Hawaiian Electric is providing electrical infrastructure upgrades to U.S. Navy-owned facilities.
As a prominent player in Hawai’i’s clean energy transition, REC Solar has committed to creating a positive impact by bringing sustainable power to the islands. The company has not only been ranked by Pacific Business News (PBN) as the number one commercial solar provider in Hawai’i in 2016, it also successfully completed the installation of Hawai’i’s largest solar facility to-date in 2017.
“REC Solar’s proven track record in Hawai’i and elsewhere and their ability to help us provide value to our customers is why we chose to work together,” said Ron Cox, senior vice president of operations for Hawaiian Electric. “This project will help our state move closer to achieving its renewable energy goals and we appreciate our collaboration with a reliable partner like REC Solar.”
Hawai’i’s clean energy mandate calls for 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Hawaiian Electric is currently seeking qualified proposals for nearly 400 megawatts of grid-scale renewable energy projects for O’ahu, Maui and Hawai’i Island, the largest procurement in the state’s history. In the first nine months of 2017, the state generated more than 10 percent of its electricity from solar, one of only three states to do so.
— Solar Builder magazine