New Port Allen solar facility is largest in state

PORT ALLEN — The largest solar generation facility in the state is already supplying power to Kaua‘i homes.

Located on a 20-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Port Allen Station power plant, the six-megawatt solar photo-voltaic facility completed construction earlier this month, KIUC and Alexander & Baldwin announced.

“The Port Allen Solar facility, along with our existing hydroelectric facilities at Wainiha and Kalaheo, will generate nearly 40,000 megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy each year, making A&B the leading generator of renewable energy on Kaua‘i,” said Christopher J. Benjamin, president and chief operating officer of A&B.

A&B, the state’s fourth-largest landowner, is a significant provider of renewable energy on the islands of Kaua‘i and Maui.

Expected to generate an average of 10,200 megawatt hours of electricity annually, the facility is expected to provide clean renewable energy for at least the next two decades.

“Completion of this facility represents a significant step forward in KIUC’s portfolio approach to meeting our aggressive long-term renewable energy goals,” said David Bissell, president and chief executive officer of KIUC.

By using a portfolio of solar, hydroelectric and biomass fueled projects, along with a combination of both cooperative and independently-owned facilities, KIUC feels they will be able to meet at least half of Kaua‘i’s power needs with renewable sources by 2023, said Bissell in a statement.

KIUC is on pace to meet Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 40 percent of the state energy needs coming from locally generated renewable sources along with 30 percent from efficiency measures.

“The Port Allen facility is the first of three utility-scale solar PV projects that will come on-line on Kaua‘i over the next two years,” Bissell said.

The A&B solar facility will supply almost 10 percent of KIUC’s daytime electrical load and annually produce about 3 percent of the total energy used on Kaua‘i, Bissell said.

He added that by 2015, KIUC expects to draw 50 percent of its daytime electrical load from PV systems, “the highest percentage of solar on any grid in the U.S.”

The 6-megawatt polycrystalline panel solar facility is integrated with a 3-megawatt Battery Energy Storage System installed by KIUC at the point of interconnection to the grid. The storage system creates greater stability on the KIUC system by maintaining a predictable flow of power from the Port Allen solar facility, along with other intermittent generation resources.

Benjamin recognized the efforts of KIUC partners and member owners, along with the state Public Utilities Commission, the Consumer Advocate, Kaua‘i County’s administration and planning commission and Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration for their support in “allowing A&B to play a continuing role in helping Kaua‘i meet its long-term renewable energy objectives, and to continue to deliver clean energy as we’ve done for over a century.”

The facility started delivering power Dec. 7, with the project being constructed in less than nine months from receipt of the PUC approval of the Power Purchase Agreement between KIUC and A&B’s subsidiary, McBryde Sugar Company. The facility was announced in July 2011.


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