AP NEWS

Largest solar project on Maui gets green light from state

April 1, 2019

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Maui’s largest solar power project has been approved by Hawaii state utilities regulators, according to officials.

Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. announced the 60-megawatt Kuihelani Solar project was approved by the state Public Utilities Commission, The Maui News reported Saturday.

The project being developed by AES Renewable Energy on up to 500 acres (about 202 hectares) of old sugar fields in central Maui will include a 240-megawatt-hour battery storage system, according to Hawaiian Electric, which owns Maui Electric Company.

Maui Electric will pay 8 cents per kilowatt hour for the power from the AES solar array and battery system, according to officials. The project will provide the lowest cost for renewable energy on the island at prices lower than those for fossil-fuel power sources, the officials said.

Construction is projected to begin in 2020 with the system going online no later than 2022, according to an AES spokesman. About 200,000 solar panels are scheduled to be erected on land leased on the east side of Kuihelani Highway, the Colorado-based company said in November.

The project is expected to “provide enough clean energy for nearly 27,000 Maui homes per year,” said Rob Cooper, AES business development director.

Another Maui solar project, a 15-megawatt solar and 60-megawatt-hour battery project by Innergex Renewables Paeahu Solar, did not receive approval. A spokesman said the company is awaiting a state decision on a revised schedule for the process.

The citizens’ group Pono Power Coalition has requested a contested case proceeding against the Innergex project, voicing property value impact and health concerns.

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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