First community solar project in Hawaii gets go-ahead
Release Date: 9/16/2019
Honolulu, Sept. 16, 2019 – Hawaiian Electric Company has approved the first community solar project in the state. Called Mililani Tech Solar I, the 270-kilowatt facility will be comprised of 864 solar panels located in the Mililani Tech Park area.
"This first-ever community solar project in Hawaii is a welcome beginning, but only the beginning of an initiative that will provide many customers who do not have private rooftop solar – including renters and apartment dwellers – the opportunity to reduce their bills and be part of our renewable energy transformation," said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service.
"We are excited to move this new initiative forward which provides a unique approach to solar participation. The benefits of community solar are clear and we are happy to be a part of this inaugural project," said Ryan McCauley, CEO of Tritium3 Renewable Ventures which is developing the project. The project is fully subscribed with participants who will receive bill credits once the project is sending energy to the grid.
"Greater community involvement will energize our shared efforts to expand and maximize renewable energy use in Hawaii," said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative. "This project represents the opportunity for more residents to participate in Hawaii's energy transformation, while also sharing in the benefits such as lower, stable energy bills. The success of this project will set the stage for future projects, empowering local communities as true partners in achieving our state's ambitious energy goals."
Capacity is still available for subscriber organizations to propose projects at this time; one megawatt of capacity on Maui and 500 kilowatts of capacity on Lana'i are available. Any qualified company, organization, developer, or group wishing to become a subscriber organization to propose a solar project can apply at hawaiianelectric.com/communitysolar.
Electric customers will be able to participate in community solar on their island after subscriber organizations are approved to build a project. Subscribers will receive a credit on their electric bills, based on the output of the project and their level of participation.
Six other community solar projects are still under review in the first phase of community solar which allows for a total of eight megawatts capacity across the Hawaiian Electric service territory. More projects like Mililani Tech Solar I are expected to be approved in 2020.