Maui’s Second Large-Scale Solar Project Brought Online
Maui Electric Company’s second large-scale photovoltaic solar project came online this week on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.
The project was done in partnership with Kenyon Energy.
Under the project, Maui Electric is buying power from Ku‘ia Solar in West Maui which is independently owned and operated by Kenyon Energy.
The 10.85-acre project, located on land owned by Kamehameha Schools in Lahaina, can offer up to 2.87 megawatts (MW) of solar power to Maui Electric’s grid at 11.06 cents per kilowatt-hour. Maui Electric officials say the company does not mark up or take a profit from this purchased power, passing the savings directly to Maui customers.
“We’re pleased to be able to partner with the community, area landowners, renewable energy developers, and local policy and government leaders in adding more clean energy to power Maui,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric. “Securing stable, more cost-effective renewable energy through new large-scale renewable resources benefits all of our customers over the life of these major projects.”
Financing for Kenyon Energy’s South Maui project was provided by Key Equipment Finance through its Energy Solutions team. Maui Electric is also purchasing power from another Kenyon Energy project, South Maui Renewable Resources, which came online in May. Bay4 Energy, one of the nation’s largest independent renewable energy service organizations, has been selected to provide ongoing asset management and operating services for both projects while M+W Energy, Inc., recognized as a leading solar Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firm, served as the EPC provider for both projects.
“We are very pleased to partner again with Maui Electric, Key Equipment Finance, and M+W Energy to complete another groundbreaking solar energy project,” said Chairman and CEO Clay Biddinger of Kenyon Energy. “Creating tangible economic and environmental benefits for Maui’s citizens and local businesses is at the heart of Kenyon Energy’s core values. We will continue to develop and operate renewable energy projects like this throughout Hawai‘i, including the acquisition of renewable energy projects from other solar partners.”
Kamehameha Schools’ lands are home to projects that produce nearly 100 megawatts of renewable energy statewide. “Ku‘ia Solar provides opportunities for Kamehameha Schools to steward these lands in a way that reduces Hawaiʻi’s dependence on fossil fuels while bringing ʻāina-based learning to haumāna (students) in the region through collaboration and innovation while fulfilling our mission to improve the well-being of Native Hawaiians through education,” said Kā‘eo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ vice president for community engagement and resources.
Currently, Maui County has a renewable energy portfolio of 34% – ahead of the state’s target of 30 percent renewable energy by 2020. On some days, a significant portion of the electricity used on Maui comes from large grid-scale and privately-owned renewables, such as wind, hydro, biofuels, and nearly 12,000 rooftop solar systems. In June 2017, Maui Electric reached a peak of 77 percent of its power coming from renewable energy resources.
Providing power to nearly 70,000 customers on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lāna‘i, Maui Electric continues to support Maui Nui’s evolving and growing energy landscape since 1921. Today, Maui Electric, along with the Hawaiian Electric and Hawai‘i Electric Light family of companies, is working to provide more reliable, clean and affordable energy to power the islands.
Founded in 1887 by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable Native Hawaiian trust committed to improving the capability and well-being of our people through education. Income generated from its endowment portfolio of commercial real estate and other diverse investments funds more than 96 percent of KS’ educational mission.