First community solar project in Hawai‘i gets go-ahead

Solar on Kahului Airport. Credit: Tritium3

Yesterday, Hawaiian Electric Company said it had approved the first community solar project in the state. The Mililani Tech Solar I, is a 270-kilowatt facility that will be comprised of 864 solar panels located in the Mililani Tech Park area.

“This first-ever community solar project in Hawaiʻi 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 Hawai’i,” said Murray Clay, president of Ulupono Initiative. “This project represents the opportunity for more residents to participate in Hawai‘i’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.

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.

Solar project development is part of the educational offerings at POWERGEN International. See them here.

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