Reporter- Pacific Business News
SunEdison, one of the largest solar energy companies in the United States, plans to develop a 50-megawatt solar farm on 250 acres of land owned by Kamehameha Schools in Waiawa in Central Oahu, the California-based solar energy firm told PBN.
SunEdison already has begun community outreach with presentations to a couple of neighborhood boards in the area.
It estimates a savings to ratepayers of about $145 million during a 25-year power-purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co., which is under negotiation and will need approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
If the project is online by Dec. 31, 2016, SunEdison said that more than $50 million in federal funding via a tax credit will be passed on to ratepayers.
The project, which is to be located east of the H-2 North freeway at the intersection of H-1 and H-2, still needs several city and state permits.
SunEdison is among the developers seeking to take part in an initiative to develop large solar photovoltaic projects that could be up and running quickly to provide electricity on Oahu at a lower cost. A total of nine proposals are on the table, and HECO is asking the PUC to approve negotiations for utility-scale solar PV projects with a total capacity of more than 240 megawatts.
HECO expects to negotiate a 20-year contract for each project with the goal of having as many as possible in service by the end of 2015.
The developers of the projects have committed to sell electricity to HECO at an average of about 15.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is about one-third less than prices paid to existing solar and wind energy projects on Oahu and the current cost of generating electricity from oil, the utility has said.
Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.