By Wendy Osher
The Lānaʻi Solar Farm, Lā Ola, is now operating at its full capacity of 1.5 megawatts of clean solar energy.
The system is the largest of its kind in the state and is the world’s first utility-grade photovoltaic project to incorporate battery storage.
The system was brought up to full capacity with the use of an XP Dynamic Power Resource, or battery storage, and through the cooperative efforts of Maui Electric Company.
The battery storage system effectively helps to maximize the acceptance of clean renewable solar energy into the Lānaʻi Electrical Grid.
The project is aimed at stabilizing electric rates on the island, and reducing Lānaʻi’s importation of foreign oil.
The solar farm is capable of supplying up to 30% of day-time peak electrical demand on Lānaʻi, and 10% of the island’s total power needs. The system produces enough power to meet the demand of more than 400 households on Lānaʻi, and saves an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil from being imported annually.
“Lānaʻi is continuing to lead the way in Hawaiʻi and the nation by becoming a world model of renewable energy producing and sustainability,” said Harry Saunders, president of Castle & Cooke Hawaiʻi in a statement.
“Lā Ola is a huge first step to facilitate that goal, as well as the renewable energy goals of the State of Hawaiʻi. We are pleased that Lānaʻi will have a significant role in reducing the state’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Saunders.
Officials from Castle & Cooke say that at full capacity, Lā Ola provides the largest percentage of renewable energy penetration from solar into an independent island grid in the world.