Hawaii Plans for 34 Megawatts of Solar Power at State Sites

January 14, 2008

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle announced January 9 that the state will develop large solar power projects at 12 locations around the state. Hawaii's Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Foreign-Trade Zone in Honolulu will host the projects.

The DOT's Airports Division is soliciting proposals from private companies to develop photovoltaic systems that could generate as much as 34 megawatts (MW) of electricity at 11 DOT sites and the Foreign-Trade Zone. The DOT plans to have all 12 systems completed and operating within the next 24 months.

The governor's office says the photovoltaic system will reduce Hawaii's need for approximately 130,000 barrels of fuel oil per year and would generate enough power to supply about 9,000 homes per year.

"Our administration is committed to developing renewable sources of power to reduce our reliance on imported oil, increase our energy independence, and stabilize energy costs," Lingle said. "Constructing large solar power arrays at DOT sites and in downtown Honolulu capitalizes on one of Hawaii's most abundant natural resources and produces energy without polluting the environment. This project also shows that state government is leading by example in the critical areas of energy and the environment."

The plan is based on a public-private partnership in which private companies construct the photovoltaic systems and then sell all the power to the state for a minimum of 20 years. This allows the state to avoid construction and operating costs and to establish a stable, long-term power budget. Structuring the project this way also allows the companies to benefit from state and federal energy tax credits.

DOT initiated the project by researching renewable energy sources for Kona International Airport. The department then expanded the project scope to other DOT sites, and has scheduled installation at facilities at Honolulu, Kalaeloa, Kahului, Lihue, Molokai, and Lanai airports; Honolulu and Nawiliwili harbors; and Highway Division district offices on Oahu and Kauai.

The project is part of the Lead by Example initiative, which is part of Act 96. The act affirms the state's responsibility to establish a secure energy and economic future for the people of Hawaii.

For more information, see the governor's January 9 press release.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Hawaii, see: