- The Hawaii Land Use Commission granted SunEdison a special-use permit for its 50 MW solar energy installation within the Kawailoa Plantation on the North Shore of Oahu. The commission determined the project is compatible with the other ways the large farm uses its land. The City and County of Honolulu Planning Commission already approved the permit.
- SunEdison’s solar project will be co-located with its existing 69 MW wind project on the agricultural lands. The permit also provides a discounted lease rate for project operators to also conduct agricultural activities, including sheep raising, at the site. The sheep will graze under the solar array.
- The project is one of eight utility-scale solar PV projects on Oahu being pushed through planning and permitting by the Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) ahead of the December 31, 2016, sunset of the 30% federal investment tax credit for solar investors.
Hawaii just became the first state to commit to obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewables when Gov. David Ige signed HB 623, mandating the state’s utilities reach that resource mix by 2045.
Recent Stanford analysis found Hawaii can economically meet 100% of its energy needs with 14% residential rooftop PV, 9.7% PV power plants, 7% concentrating solar power plants, 12% onshore wind, 16% offshore wind, 9% commercial and government rooftop PV, 1% wave energy, 30% geothermal, 0.3% hydroelectric, and 1% tidal energy.
The Public Utility Commission rejected a 20 MW Central Oahu installation in April because SunEdison made unapproved changes to the array configuration. The PUC deferred ruling on the seven other HECO-proposed solar projects, though the utiltiy has power purchase agreements for the projects' generation. One would be built by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NEE). The commission is expected to rule this fall on NEE’s offer of $4.3 billion to acquire HECO.