Hawaiian Electric Company and SunPower Corporation have announced an agreement for SunPower to sell solar photovoltaic (PV) power to Hawaiian Electric for 20 years under a fixed price contract. The power will be generated from a 5 MW solar farm that SunPower will design, build and operate at Kalaeloa in West Oahu. The agreement still needs approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) but once the word is handed down, SunPower plans on having the solar farm, located on 40 acres leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, up and running within five months.
“We welcome this agreement for another solar facility for Oahu, part of our continuing effort to get as much renewable energy on our island grid as possible,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president. “Hawaii already leads the nation in solar watts per person, much of it generated by customer-sited roof-top PV arrays. This and other large-scale projects will increase our solar leadership and help us meet our clean energy goals.”
Back in 2008, PUC sent out a request for proposal and this agreement is the result of that process. SunPower, the winning contractor, will install its solar panels on its SunPower Tracker system, which they believe are the most productive on the market today. The company says the system “tracks” the sun capturing up to 25 percent more sunlight than conventional fixed-tilt systems all on less land.
“With SunPower’s high-efficiency technology, Hawaiian Electric will benefit from reliable, cost-effective, guaranteed performance,” said SunPower Business Unit President Jim Pape. “The solar farm will contribute clean, renewable solar power to Oahu while generating welcome revenues for the important work of the Hawaiian Homelands department on behalf of native Hawaiians.”
When completed, this solar farm will join several other renewable energy projects on Oahu including an expanding waste-to-energy plant, a waste gasification plant currently under development; a wind farm, and several other solar farms under development.