SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) has broken the ground at the $40 million solar facility in Koloa. After the project is completed, the 12-megawatt array will be the largest solar facility in Hawaii. It will have 45,000 panels that generates 5% of Kauai?s electricity.
SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) is responsible for building the system. The project is expected to create around 125 construction jobs.
?By owning this project, the benefits of cheap, clean solar are shared by all of our customers, not just those who can afford to install their own PV systems,? stated Allan A. Smith, chairman of the KIUC board of directors, as quoted by The Garden Island. ?Using this system saves us from importing about 1.7 million gallons of oil annually.?
The solar photovoltaic project is being placed on 67 acres of former sugar cane fields that KIUC is leasing from Grove Farm Co.
This project is the second large utility-scale solar facility that is being built at Kauai. The first one is owned by Alexander & Baldwin Co., Inc. at Port Allen, which opened up last year. There are also two smaller systems there – a 1-megawatt array located in Kapaa and a 300-kilowatt array in Omao.
The Koloa project is expected to generate 19 megawatts during the day, which should be enough to power nearly 30% of Kauai’s daytime electrical demand (about 4,000 homes). The project is being developed by a subsidiary of KIUC’s. This will enable the project to be qualified for state and federal tax credits.
The net cost of electricity that will be generated by the array will be at 10 cents and 13.5 cents per kilowatt hour. This is well below the present cost of oil at 23 cents per kilowatt hour.