Solar power in Hawaii

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MicroCSP collectors on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii's imported energy costs are three times higher, and will soon be close to four times higher[1] than the mainland, so Hawaii has motivation to become one of the highest users of solar energy. Hawaii was the first state in the United States to reach grid parity for photovoltaics. Its tropical location provides abundant sun energy.

Hawaii has a renewable portfolio standard of 40% renewable energy by 2030. Hawaii had almost 200 MW of grid-connected photovoltaics in 2012. 16 MW of PV were installed in 2010, 40 MW in 2011, and 109 MW in 2012.[2][3] The largest solar project in Hawaii, the 12MW Grove Farm, opened in July 2014 on Kauai. It has 45,000 panels on 67 acres of land and can provide 5.5% of the island's electricity.[4][5]

The electrical grids of the Hawaiian islands are each separate and relatively small. Issues of overbuilding distributed solar in some areas has led to issues and HECO has made connecting to the grid more difficult, leading to layoffs among the solar installation industry.[6] In 2014, there were over 40,000 rooftop systems, over 10 percent of customers.[7] On August 31, 2014, during daytime hours, 57% of power on Kauai was from renewable sources.[8] A proposed grid interconnection between Oahu and Maui would allow more renewable energy.[9]

In 2012 a typical solar system in Hawaii paid for itself in only 4 years, and returned a profit of over 4 times the cost over its life.[10] Hawaii's 35% ($5000.00 Maximum) state tax credit is the second highest in the country, behind Louisiana.[11] Hawaii offers a feed-in tariff, but it does not meet the normal definition of a feed-in tariff, as it is less than the retail cost of electricity, and is therefore simply a Power Purchase Agreement. The Oahu Wind Integration Study[12] released a report detailing the impact on the Oahu grid and found that 500 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar power could provide Oahu up to 25% of its electricity while eliminating the need to burn approximately 2.8 million barrels of low sulfur fuel oil and 132,000 tons of coal each year.[13]

Solar power energy statistics[edit]

In 2010 Hawaii generated 56 GWh of energy by photovoltaics. The distribution of energy produced per island is as follows in the table below:

Hawaii Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)[14][15][16][17][18][19]
Year Capacity Installed % Change
2007 4.5 2.9 181%
2008 13.5 8.6 200%
2009 26.2 12.7 94%
2010 44.7 18.5 71%
2011 85.2 40.5 91%
2012 199.5 114.3 134%
2013 358.2 158.7 80%

This, however, is 0.07% of the state's total electricity generation for 2007, 0.13% for 2008, 0.33% for 2009, and 0.51% for 2010.[20][21] In 2011, solar provided 1% of Hawaii's electricity.[22]


Major solar installations in Hawaii[edit]

  • December 2008: DuPont completed a solar power installation on Kauai that is expected to average 80 kW.[23]
  • December 2008: Sunetric, the largest solar installation company in the state,[24] completed the largest roof-mount solar power installation in Hawaii at Kona Commons shopping mall.[25]
  • 2009: Sopogy completed construction on Hawaii's first concentrating solar power project. The project located at the Natural Energy Laboratories of Hawaii is a 2MW solar thermal project interconnected into the Hawaiian Electric Industries grid under a Power Purchase Agreement.
  • 2009: La Ola Solar Farm on Lanai was dedicated in January, with a design capacity of 1.5 MW (1.2MW AC).[26] After operating at 600KW due to variable cloud cover, in September 2010 Xtreme Power announced plans to incorporate their battery storage technology to bring the system up to design capacity.[27] It is the first photovoltaic power plant in the world to include battery storage.[28]
  • 2011: The Kapaa Solar Farm was completed, a 1.21 MW photovoltaic array, the largest in Hawaii, and the first on the island of Kauai.[29][30][31]
  • 2011: Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park on Oahu, 1.18 MW [22]
  • 2012: Port Allen Solar Facility on Kauai, 6 MW [22]
  • 2013: Kalaeloa Solar Power I, 5 MW, a concentrated solar power plant on Oahu
  • 2014: Grove Farm 12MW, opened in July 2014 on Kauai[32]

Projects under development[edit]

  • Oahu - Mililani South Solar Park 20 MW[33][34][35][36]
  • Oahu - Kalaeloa Solar Power II (Photovoltaics) 5 MW
  • Oahu - Kalaeloa Home Lands Solar 5 MW
  • Oahu - Scatec/Hunt Development 5.9 MW
  • Oahu - IC Sunshine 5 MW
  • Oahu - Hoopili, 7MW, to be completed 2016[37]
  • Kauai - Anahola, 12MW, to be completed in 2015[38]
  • Kauai - Kikialoa Solar 5 MW
  • Kauai - Kauai Island Utility Cooperative 3 MW
  • Kauai - Anahola Solar 14.53 MW (12 MW AC)[39]
  • Kauai - Poipu Solar 3 MW

Source:[40]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ PUC issues interim decision in Hawaiian Electric rate case
  2. ^ U.S. Solar Market Insight Report
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Kauai offered view of state's largest solar farm, Hawaii News Now, Sep 24, 2014
  5. ^ Hawaii Solar, SEIA
  6. ^ HECO rule pulled the plug on PV jobs, Hawaii News Now, Jim Mendoz, Sep 22, 2014
  7. ^ A Solar Permit Slowdown Is Chilling Oahu’s Installer Market, greentechmedia, Eric Wesoff, June 12, 2014
  8. ^ KIUC flipped the switch on its Koloa solar project on Thursday, Pacific Business News, Duane Shimogawa, Sep 25, 2014
  9. ^ Linking isles' energy grids will save money, state says, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Alan Yonan Jr., Jan 22, 2014
  10. ^ Hawaii State Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives
  11. ^ Isles power up in solar rankings
  12. ^ Oahu Wind Integration Study
  13. ^ Hawaii Study: Wind and Solar Can Reliably Supply 25% of Oahu Electricity Needs
  14. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  15. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2013). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  16. ^ Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  17. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  18. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  19. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  20. ^ 2009
  21. ^ 2010
  22. ^ a b c Hawaii Energy Facts & Figures January 2013, State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Hawaii State Energy Office, January 2013, accessed October 11, 2013
  23. ^ Environmental Leader news: DuPont cuts ribbon on Hawaii solar panel project
  24. ^ Solar Power World
  25. ^ Star Bulletin: Kona Commons gets solar system
  26. ^ Lanai Solar Farm Generating 1.5 MW
  27. ^ "Castle & Cooke's Lanai solar farm getting battery boost". 14 September 2010. 
  28. ^ La Ola Solar Farm Now Operating at Full Capacity
  29. ^ REC Solar unveils Hawai‘i’s largest operational solar system
  30. ^ New Kauai solar farm could power 300 homes
  31. ^ Large Solar Farm in Hawaii Opens on Kaua'i Island
  32. ^ Hawaii Solar, SEIA
  33. ^ Lana'i - Going Green
  34. ^ Castle & Cooke gets waiver for solar farm
  35. ^ Sustainable Future
  36. ^ Hawaii's biggest solar farm proposed for Mililani fields
  37. ^ D.R. Horton plans 2015 start on Hawaii solar farm with new contractor, Pacific Business News, Duane Shimogawa, Sep 19, 2014
  38. ^ REC Solar and KIUC Break Ground on 12 MW Anahola Solar Array, REC Solar, June 26, 2014
  39. ^ Anahola Kaua’i, HI
  40. ^ Renewable Energy Projects in Hawaii

External links[edit]