“Creating more renewable energy alternatives is one of the most critical challenges we face. In my Holo Holo 2020 vision, renewable energy has been incorporated in our homes our businesses and our utility to the greatest extent possible,” said Bernard Carvalho, mayor of the island of Kaua’i. “I applaud Kapa’a Solar and KIUC for forging this great partnership and demonstrating that renewable energy can and will work for Kaua’i.”
“With ample sunshine and aggressive renewable energy goals, Hawai’i is poised to emerge as a leading market for solar energy generation. The commissioning of the system today marks an important step forward for the island of Kaua’i and the state,” said Angiolo Laviziano, CEO of REC Solar. “Our unparalleled experience in solar system design and integration makes REC Solar ideally suited to partner with forward-thinking utilities like KIUC and bring utility-scale projects online statewide.”
REC Solar designed, procured, and managed the installation of the 1.21 MW ground mounted photovoltaic system. The project was sighted on 5 acres of non-productive agricultural land located above old Kapa’a Town on the windward side of Kaua’i. The solar power plant was designed with four 250 kW Advanced Energy Solaron™ Inverters and is powered by 5,376 REC Group 225 watt Peak Energy (PE)-Series modules.
This project was expedited with contracting in August, design in September, procurement in October and construction in November and December 2010. REC Solar utilized its proprietary SnapNrack™ fixed-tilt racking that boasts extremely thick galvanization to combat the island environment’s corrosive components. The inverters 480Vac output is stepped up with a single 1 MW transformer and interconnected directly to the utility’s 12.8kV distribution lines.
“This project was made possible by the long term vision of our community, its leaders, and each and every individual who participated in the planning, permitting and construction of this facility,” said Kurt Bosshard, president of Kapa’a Solar LLC, the system’s owner. “Kapa’a Solar LLC and I personally, wish to thank everyone who helped in this process.”
As a part of its initiatives to boost renewable energy power generation, KIUC negotiated and contracted a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kapa’a Solar LLC, a local financing firm founded by Kurt Bosshard. The project received support from long time renewable energy advocates Kaua’i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., State Senator Mike Gabbard, State Representative Hermina Morita and Kaua’i Chamber of Commerce president Randy Francisco.
“KIUC has long acknowledged that significant investments in additional renewable energy generation will be required for us to achieve our strategic goals of being 50 percent renewable by 2023,” said KIUC Acting President and CEO David Bissell. “This first utility-scale solar farm on Kaua’i allows us the opportunity to determine and better understand the physical limitations of high penetration PV on a distribution circuit and to work through some specific technicalities associated with adding large scale intermittent renewables to our generation mix.”
Pending final approval from the Public Utility Commission, the system will produce an estimated 1.8 megawatt hours (mWh) of energy annually, which is enough energy to power close to 300 Kaua’i homes for one year. Throughout the first 30 years of the system’s life, the solar system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 40,000 tons.
REC Solar is an industry leading solar power provider specializing in grid-tied commercial and residential installations. With a local presence in all major solar markets in the USA and thousands of kilowatts installed, REC Solar is committed to lowering the cost of solar power through efficient processes, innovative products and outstanding customer service. REC Solar has more than a dozen offices in six states (California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Oregon, Arizona and New Jersey).