David Bissell, president and CEO of Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), was honored today by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), as its 2013 Utility CEO of the Year in recognition of KIUC’s accomplishments in integrating solar electric power into its renewable energy portfolio
“David has taken a creative approach to bringing utility-scale solar to the island of Kaua‘i and developing projects that not only promote greater reliance on renewable resources, but are a laboratory for innovation in engineering and utility finance,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO. “We are proud to honor David for his long-term vision, and his accomplishments in driving down costs and bringing the benefits of solar to all residents of Kaua‘i.”
SEPA is an educational non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to increasing utilities’ use of solar energy for power generation.
“Our success with solar energy is built on teamwork, internally with our highly engaged board of directors and talented staff and externally with our supportive community partners,” Bissell said. “Pursuing utility-scale solar that benefits all of our customers is a key strategy to reach our ambitious renewable energy goals.”
Bissell earned the 2013 Utility CEO of the Year honor through his leadership in developing creative financing plans that leveraged federal stimulus money and tax credits to bring the cost of utility-scale solar from $200 per MWh in 2011 closer to $100 per MWh for two 12 MW projects now in development. Bissell, who has a background in utility finance, was the cooperative’s chief financial officer before being named president and CEO in 2011.
KIUC will break ground on one of those projects on Nov. 6, a $40 million solar array in Kōloa that will meet 5 percent of Kauaʻi’s energy needs and replace 1.7 million gallons of oil annually. A second 12 MW project is also planned in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in Anahola.
The cooperative aims to use renewable resources to generate at least 50 percent of Kauaʻi’s electricity by 2023, with solar contributing about 16 percent of the total.
KIUC was honored earlier this year by SEPA as one of the nation’s Top 10 utilities for delivery of solar energy to its customers.
KIUC was ranked No. 2 in the list of electric utilities in the U.S. that added the most new solar power to their systems on a watts-per-customer basis in 2012.
KIUC is ranked highest among electric utilities in Hawaiʻi for adding new solar on a watts-per-customer basis. It is first among U.S. electrical cooperatives included in the 2012 SEPA rankings for adding new solar.