Hawaiian Electric Co. has reached a power purchase agreement (PPA) with developer NRG Energy Inc. to buy electricity generated by the Kawailoa Solar facility on the north shore of Oahu.
Upon completion, the 49 MW Kawailoa Solar array will be Hawaii’s largest solar facility and provide electricity at 10.99 cents/kWh, assuming application of the estimated Hawaii state tax credit, according to NRG. Kawailoa Solar will be located on Kamehameha Schools-owned land near Haleiwa and adjacent to the 69 MW Kawailoa Wind Farm, which has met as much as 10% of Oahu’s electricity needs since 2012.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission must now approve the agreement, and this latest deal builds on two PPAs Hawaiian Electric filed for the 14.7 MW Lanikuhana Solar and 45.9 MW Waipio Solar facilities for approval in January. The Lanikuhana, Waipio and Kawailoa projects, to be built and owned by NRG, are targeted to come online in 2019.
The three solar projects were originally proposed by SunEdison and acquired by NRG at the end of November 2016 during SunEdison’s bankruptcy proceedings. In February 2016, Hawaiian Electric terminated the original PPAs for the three projects due to SunEdison missing contract milestones and its financial condition. According to NRG, newly negotiated prices in the 22-year agreements are below previous SunEdison prices.
“Reaching this agreement on Kawailoa Solar is another big step in our renewable energy plans for Oahu,” says Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Our goal is always to bring better value to our customers, who will now get the benefits of lower prices for clean, renewable energy over the life of our contracts.”
Together, the three projects will total nearly 110 MW of solar generation and increase Hawaiian Electric’s renewable output on Oahu by three percentage points. The projects also mark NRG’s entry into the Hawaiian utility-scale solar market.
“Partnering with Hawaiian Electric on Lanikuhana, Waipio and Kawailoa is a proud moment for our company,” says Craig Cornelius, president of NRG Renewables. “We’re looking forward to moving ahead with construction and bringing the projects online as soon as possible.”