Dec. 23, 2013 - Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park ceremoniously opened today and will immediately begin generating electricity for Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu. Following four years of development and construction, the 5MW, utility-scale solar park was successfully tested and commissioned on November 22.
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, enough to power 1,000 homes, bringing the state one step closer to meeting its target to produce 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park will produce enough renewable power to prevent nearly 11,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is equivalent to removing nearly 38,000 cars from Hawaii's roads over the 20-year term of the agreement.
"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 Governor Neil Abercrombie, who attended the ceremony.
After four years of development and construction, the solar project is generating clean electricity for the people of Oahu. 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 a commission 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. "More than ever, solar power is able to provide utilities an efficient and cost effective way to both meet environmental goals and maintain a reliable power supply for consumers."
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 January 2013, the team broke ground after the Navy completed an environmental assessment.
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.