Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative will hold a public dedication ceremony Saturday at 1 p.m. for its new Anahola solar facility. The dedication will be followed by a community open house until 3 p.m.
The Anahola solar facility came online this month and is the state’s largest solar project, a 12-megawatt array owned by the cooperative’s members, according to KIUC.
“Anahola is an important milestone toward our goal of using renewables to meet 50 percent of Kauaʻi’s energy needs by 2023,” said Jan TenBruggencate, chairman of the co-op’s board of directors. “Using the sun to make electricity has multiple benefits. It reduces our members’ costs, stabilizes our rates, keeps dollars in the local economy and contributes to efforts to slow climate change.”
KIUC staff engineers will lead tours and explain how the facility’s 59,000 panels provide electricity to the grid and enable the cooperative to reduce carbon emissions by 18,000 tons per year.
During the daylight hours, the Anahola array will generate about 20 percent of the electricity used on Kaua‘i. It will also eliminate 1.7 million gallons of oil that are imported annually to generate electricity.
The $54 million project was built by REC Solar on 60 acres of land leased for 25 years from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
The project includes a 6-megawatt lithium ion energy storage system manufactured by Saft. The system helps maintain grid stability by providing backup power when cloud cover diminishes the output of the island’s solar arrays.
The Anahola solar facility is the second utility-scale solar project owned by KIUC. The cooperative’s 12-megawatt array in Kōloa went into service in September 2014.
By the end of 2015, 37 percent of the electricity generated on Kaua‘i will come from a mix of renewable resources: solar, hydropower and biomass. That’s up from 5 percent in 2009.