Purchase agreement signed for concentrated solar power project in Hawaii

Keahole Solar Power LLC has signed a contract with Hawaiian Electric Co. that commits the utility to buy power from Keahole’s planned 5-megawatt solar farm in Kalaeloa in leeward Oahu.

Terms of the power-purchase agreement were not disclosed, and the contract still needs approval from the state Public Utilities Commission.

HECO officials confirmed the agreement with Keahole Solar Power on Tuesday.

“We’re pleased,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai. “This is [yet] another step toward reducing our dependence on imported oil, and it just adds to our diverse portfolio of clean energy resources.”

Keahole Solar Power President Tim Wong told PBN that the contract allows for financing to start the project, which will be built on 43 acres of land leased from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands .

Funds generated will go toward an educational renewable energy program for Native Hawaiians.

Keahole Solar Power will develop the project utilizing 9,520 of Sopogy Inc.’s solar-concentrating panels. Keahole Solar Power was founded in 2007 as a spin-off of Sopogy.

Keahole Solar Power broke ground on the 5-megawatt project last October. Construction should begin later this month and finish by the end of this year, according to Wong.

In 2009, Keahole Solar Power completed the first solar power system on the Big island; it produces 2 megawatts of energy. The company hopes to bring 30 megawatts of solar power to the state by 2015.

Keahole Solar Power has three subsidiaries: KSP Development, KSP Generation and KSP Innovation.

“We’re focused on getting this project [at Kalaeloa] going,” Wong said. “We’re also doing business development all across the state.”

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.