KIUC looking to develop more solar

LIHU‘E —Within hours of the end of the fifth and final forum on Thursday for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors candidates, the co-op announced its intent to build a second large-scale solar project in the 8 to 10 megawatt range.

It is issuing a Request for Offers (RFO) from landowners for sites to host a photovoltaic project and simultaneously inviting PV-project developers who have a project and site identified to propose a turnkey project, according to a KIUC news release.

“The RFO is meant to be less formal than an RFP (Request for Proposals) so that any interested parties that have control of a good solar site, including land owners who haven’t yet worked with a solar PV developer or KIUC, can quickly be considered for the next location of cooperative-owned, low-cost renewable energy,” power supply manager Brad Rockwell said in the release.

The RFO will be issued today. The deadline to respond is March 26. The evaluation considerations will include location, terms and environmental aspects, with a possible short-list of candidates being selected for lease negotiations, the release states. A formal RFP for engineering, procurement and construction services may follow site selection, depending on whether the selected site includes a PV project option.

KIUC, Homestead Community Development Corporation and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is jointly planning the co-op’s first solar project, a 12 MW solar farm in Anahola. Rockwell has estimated the capital cost to be between $50 million and $60 million before subsidies. If the project is completed before the federal subsidy program ends, it should cover an estimated 50 percent of the project’s capital cost.

“The proposed (RFO) project would be a little smaller than the Anahola project, but it would probably have similar costs,” KIUC engineer Steve Rymsha said. “It would be funded as part of the past loan fund approved a year or two ago, which is the same funding for Anahola Solar. Previously, it had been for a combustion generator, but it was reallocated for Anahola with some left over.”

In 2010, KIUC obtained a $110 million loan guarantee from the Rural Utility Service. Of that amount, approximately $67 million was originally slated by the co-op for a 10 MW naphtha/biodiesel-fueled combustion turbine at the existing Kapaia power plant.

“Access to low-cost financing is a key to delivering cost effective renewable energy and, at a time of historically low rates, RUS financing is the lowest cost available,” Karissa Jonas, KIUC’s CFO said in the release.

The co-op will seek financing from RUS for the second project, according to the release, and construction financing from Cooperative Finance Corporation.

“KIUC is pleased to be at the forefront of economic development on Kaua‘i,” KIUC CEO David Bissell said in the release. “Renewable energy projects under development, either KIUC owned or through power purchase agreements, will represent almost $200 million of capital investment and will provide several hundred construction jobs during these challenging economic times.”

KIUC spokeswomen Shelley Paik and Malie Moriguchi did not respond to The Garden Island’s telephone and email requests for additional information on Thursday.

For more information about the co-op’s call for offers, contact Steve Rymsha at or 246-8287. The release states the RFO will also be posted online at


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