The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex just broke ground for the Kūpono Solar Project, a solar-plus-storage system in O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.
The Kūpono Solar Project will sit on around 131 acres of federal land and feature a 42-megawatt (MW) solar array and 42 MW/168 MWh of lithium-ion battery storage. The renewable energy will go to Hawaiian Electric’s (HECO) grid and will power around 10,000 households on O‘ahu.
Once fully operational, the project is expected to reduce more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually from Hawai‘i’s environment – the equivalent to offsetting emissions from 12,000 cars annually.
Cleantech integrator Ameresco and electric infrastructure developer, owner, and operator Bright Canyon Energy established a joint venture in 2021 to advance the project, which has a 37-year land lease agreement with the US Navy to provide critical energy resiliency upgrades for O‘ahu.
Kūpono Solar will own and operate this solar and battery project under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric.
Josh Green, Lt. Governor of Hawai‘i, said at the groundbreaking ceremony:
We are taking significant strides to strengthen our state’s energy security and resilience, and thanks to the ‘Ewa community, Navy, Hawaiian Electric, Ameresco, and Bright Canyon Energy, we are now steps closer to reaching Hawai‘i’s renewable energy vision of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045.
Kūpono Solar is a landmark initiative for us that will not only benefit our state’s economy but will also bolster our sustainability efforts and local communities through stable, affordable energy, innovative technology, and job creation.
Construction on the Kūpono Solar Project is expected to be completed in early 2024.
In 2020, solar power provided almost 17% of Hawaii’s total electricity, primarily from the increase in generation from small-scale, customer-sited solar panel systems that nearly doubled since 2015.
Hawaii was the first state to set a deadline – 2045 – for having 100% of its electricity sales come from renewable energy. In 2020, the state’s power suppliers met the interim requirement that 30% of electricity sales come from renewables, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
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