Wednesday, July 9, 2014

REC Solar Begins Construction of 12MW Solar Array for Hawaiian Utility

REC Solar, a specialist in commercial solar electric system design and installation, has commenced construction on a 12MW AC (14.53MW DC) solar array for Hawaiian utility Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). With 57,624 panels, REC reports that the utility solar project will be one of Hawaii’s largest systems upon completion and REC Solar’s largest project to date.

The 60-acre solar PV system will be located in Anahola on the northeast side of the island of Kaua‘i. Upon completion in 2015, it will generate 50% of Kaua‘i’s daytime electrical demand, or enough electricity to power 4,000 homes. A 6MW lithium-ion battery system will be installed alongside the array to store energy when the sun is shining and distribute it when clouds reduce the system’s output.

A groundbreaking event on 26 June, 2014 marked the beginning of construction. Hawaii Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, KIUC president and CEO David Bissell and REC Solar’s Drew Bradley participated in the ceremony, which included a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

The project will be the second utility-scale solar facility to be built by KIUC for the benefit of its 30,000 members. Construction will soon be completed on another 12 megawatt array in Koloa that will come online later this summer.

The project is being developed by a subsidiary of KIUC that will enable it to qualify for tax credits that were part of the 2009 federal stimulus package. Because it is a member-owned cooperative, not an investor-owned utility, KIUC can finance the project through the Rural Utilities Service.

The net cost of electricity generated by the array will be about 12.5 cents a kilowatt hour, far below the present cost of oil, which is about 24 cents per kilowatt hour.

The project is expected to create about 125 construction jobs.

KIUC also has the option of building a utility service center at the Anahola site once the solar array is completed.


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