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Clearway and Moss begin construction of two Oahu solar + storage projects

Written by: Leonard Parker | solar news | April 9, 2021

Following a traditional Hawaiian blessing, Clearway Energy Group broke ground on two utility-scale solar projects in Mililani and Waiawa this morning, advancing the state’s goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045. The 39-MW Mililani I Solar and 36-MW Waiawa Solar Power sites will be paired with a combined 300 MWh of storage, becoming among the first utility-scale battery storage and solar on the island.

“Our ongoing focus on renewable energy in the State of Hawaii is key to rebuilding our local economy and improving energy reliability for a more resilient future,” said Gov. David Ige. “Thanks to Clearway and our partners, we can celebrate this major milestone together as we take another step toward our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045.”

“Hawaii has long led the nation on climate solutions, and we’re honored to continue contributing to that mission with two new renewable energy sites in the state,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway. “The addition of solar paired with storage on Oahu is an important step toward a clean, affordable, and reliable electric grid. We thank Hawaiian Electric, Kamehameha Schools and many others for their ongoing partnership to advance innovative energy projects and move Hawaii toward a carbon-free economy.”

The two projects represent a $280 million investment and will create more than 460 local union jobs during construction. Once complete, the sites are expected to contribute more than $10 million in taxes to the city and county.

This is Clearway’s second set of renewable projects in Hawaii. In 2019, the company completed construction and commissioning of three utility-scale solar projects: a 45.9-MW site in Waipio and a 14.7-MW site in Mililani, both in central Oahu, and a 49-MW site in Kawailoa on Oahu’s North Shore. Once Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power are complete, Clearway’s five solar projects totaling 185 MW will serve Hawaiian Electric’s grid and generate enough electricity to power more than 45,500 Oahu homes each year.

“Clearway has been an excellent partner to Hawaiian Electric in our drive to reach our clean energy goals and their three projects in operation helped us achieve a renewable portfolio standard of 35% in 2020,” said Scott Seu, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. “Additional large projects with storage like these will help us continue to decarbonize our energy system by reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels.”

Kamehameha Schools’ lands are home to renewable energy projects that produce more than 100 MW of clean energy statewide. Clearway’s project is one of two utility-scale solar projects that Kamehameha Schools is planning within the ahupua‘a of Waiawa and, with Kawailoa Solar, the second developed by Clearway on ‘Ᾱina Pauahi.

“Kamehameha Schools stewards its lands for resilience and abundance with a focus on reducing Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuels, creating a renewable energy industry in Hawaii, and bringing ʻāina-based learning and leadership pathways to our community as part of our mission to improve the well-being of the Native Hawaiian people,” said Kā‘eo Duarte, Kamehameha Schools’ vice president for Community & ‘Ᾱina Resiliency. “We extend our mahalo to Clearway for being a valued partner on this journey toward a clean, sustainable future.”

Once complete, the Waiawa project will contribute $200,000 in community benefits in the coming years, including an educational partnership with Blue Planet Foundation to develop school curriculums on renewable energy, as well as an annual mainland internship program with Kamehameha Schools students.

The construction of Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power is being led by Moss and is expected to be complete in 2022.

“We’re looking forward to partnering with this same great team once again,” Edwin Perkins, president of Moss Solar. “It is rewarding to see the fruition of our efforts to help Hawaii reach its 100% renewable energy goal.”

News item from Clearway Energy Group