Solar power in Hawaii
Hawaii's imported energy costs are three times higher, and will soon be close to four times higher 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. 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.
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. In 2014, there were over 40,000 rooftop systems, over 10 percent of customers. On August 31, 2014, during daytime hours, 57% of power on Kauai was from renewable sources. A proposed grid interconnection between Oahu and Maui would allow more renewable energy.
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. Hawaii's 35% ($5000.00 Maximum) state tax credit is the second highest in the country, behind Louisiana. 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 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.
Solar power energy statistics
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)|
Major solar installations in Hawaii
- December 2008: DuPont completed a solar power installation on Kauai that is expected to average 80 kW.
- December 2008: Sunetric, the largest solar installation company in the state, completed the largest roof-mount solar power installation in Hawaii at Kona Commons shopping mall.
- 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). 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. It is the first photovoltaic power plant in the world to include battery storage.
- 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.
- 2011: Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park on Oahu, 1.18 MW 
- 2012: Port Allen Solar Facility on Kauai, 6 MW 
- 2013: Kalaeloa Solar Power I, 5 MW, a concentrated solar power plant on Oahu
- 2014: Grove Farm 12MW, opened in July 2014 on Kauai
Projects under development
- Oahu - Mililani South Solar Park 20 MW
- 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
- Kauai - Anahola, 12MW, to be completed in 2015
- Kauai - Kikialoa Solar 5 MW
- Kauai - Kauai Island Utility Cooperative 3 MW
- Kauai - Anahola Solar 14.53 MW (12 MW AC)
- Kauai - Poipu Solar 3 MW
- PUC issues interim decision in Hawaiian Electric rate case
- U.S. Solar Market Insight Report
- Kauai offered view of state's largest solar farm, Hawaii News Now, Sep 24, 2014
- Hawaii Solar, SEIA
- HECO rule pulled the plug on PV jobs, Hawaii News Now, Jim Mendoz, Sep 22, 2014
- A Solar Permit Slowdown Is Chilling Oahu’s Installer Market, greentechmedia, Eric Wesoff, June 12, 2014
- KIUC flipped the switch on its Koloa solar project on Thursday, Pacific Business News, Duane Shimogawa, Sep 25, 2014
- Linking isles' energy grids will save money, state says, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Alan Yonan Jr., Jan 22, 2014
- Hawaii State Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits, and Incentives
- Isles power up in solar rankings
- Oahu Wind Integration Study
- Hawaii Study: Wind and Solar Can Reliably Supply 25% of Oahu Electricity Needs
- Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-07-27.
- Sherwood, Larry (July 2013). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- Sherwood, Larry (August 2012). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2011". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- 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
- Environmental Leader news: DuPont cuts ribbon on Hawaii solar panel project
- Solar Power World
- Star Bulletin: Kona Commons gets solar system
- Lanai Solar Farm Generating 1.5 MW
- "Castle & Cooke's Lanai solar farm getting battery boost". 14 September 2010.
- La Ola Solar Farm Now Operating at Full Capacity
- REC Solar unveils Hawai‘i’s largest operational solar system
- New Kauai solar farm could power 300 homes
- Large Solar Farm in Hawaii Opens on Kaua'i Island
- Hawaii Solar, SEIA
- Lana'i - Going Green
- Castle & Cooke gets waiver for solar farm
- Sustainable Future
- Hawaii's biggest solar farm proposed for Mililani fields
- D.R. Horton plans 2015 start on Hawaii solar farm with new contractor, Pacific Business News, Duane Shimogawa, Sep 19, 2014
- REC Solar and KIUC Break Ground on 12 MW Anahola Solar Array, REC Solar, June 26, 2014
- Anahola Kaua’i, HI
- Renewable Energy Projects in Hawaii
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Solar power in Hawaii.|
- Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
- Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative
- Hawaii's Energy Future
- Hawaii Energy
- Hawaii Solar Energy Association
- Map of Solar Projects
- Solar Hawaii
- History of Solar Power in Hawaii Timeline