MECO Proposes Energy Purchase From Large Solar Projects

August 7, 2015, 7:29 AM HST · Updated August 7, 7:31 AM
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Maui Now file photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui Now file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Mau Now Staff

Maui Electric Company is proposing to purchase electricity from two large solar projects—the first of their kind on Maui.

The contracts were filed yesterday with the state Public Utilities Commission for review and approval.

If the PUC approves the contracts, South Maui Renewable Resources, a Maui-based developer, will build a 2.87-megawatt photovoltaic project near the Maui Research & Technology Park in Kīhei, and Ku‘ia Solar would build a 2.87 megawatt PV project in Lahaina near Lahainaluna School.

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These projects are expected to produce up to 5.7 megawatts of solar power for MECO’s grid at 11.06 cents per kilowatt hour. MECO does not mark up or take a profit from purchased power, passing the savings directly to Maui customers.

“Maui County is already a leader in solar energy and we continue to integrate more residential rooftop PV to our electrical grid,” said Sharon Suzuki, Maui Electric president. “There are over 8,000 rooftop PV systems in the county, with close to 2,000 of those systems installed last year alone. These two new projects have technical controls to ensure reliable interconnection, bring the benefits to all our customers and still leave room for more rooftop solar on Maui’s grid. More than 30 percent of the electricity used in Maui County now comes from renewable sources, and these projects take us even further.”

“We are pleased to be working with Maui Electric on these projects”, said Tricia Rohlfing of South Maui Renewable Resources. “Being Maui residents and Maui Electric customers, we have a vested interest in being part of the solution for our island. These projects not only support the state’s renewable energy goals, but do so at rates that should benefit all customers.”

“We’re committed to giving customers more options, increasing renewables, and lowering costs for all customers,” said Suzuki. “Adding large-scale solar to the wind, biomass, biofuel, hydroelectric, and rooftop solar electricity already in use is an important step in working toward the 100 percent renewable goal for Hawai‘i.”

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