Solar energy project generating 5 MW on Hawaii’s island of Oahu

Officials from Hawaiian Electric Co., SunPower Corp. and Bright Plain Renewable Energy dedicated the Kalaeloa Solar Farm, a 5 MW solar farm on the western part of Hawaii’s island of Oahu.

Bright Plain will manage the solar energy facility, and SunPower Corp. designed and built it. The solar farm was acquired in November 2012 by an affiliate of D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments in partnership with Bright Plain.

The renewable power generated from the project will help the state of Hawaii meet its renewable portfolio standard goal of 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.

At the 36-acre site, SunPower installed high-efficiency SunPower solar panels on a SunPower T0 Tracker system. The Tracker positions solar panels to follow the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while reducing land requirements.

Power from the project will be sold to Hawaiian Electric under the conditions of a fixed-price 20-year power purchase agreement.

The solar farm is the first utility-scale solar project on state land, located on 36-acres leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Construction on the project began in July 2012, and it was operational in December.

According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the solar farm will produce enough renewable power to avoid almost 9,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, equivalent to eliminating the consumption of about 400,000 barrels of oil over the 20-year term of the power purchase agreement.

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