Hawaii’s Largest Solar Photovoltaic Farm

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The Hawaiian island of Lana'i
The Hawaiian island of Lana’i will soon host a 1.2 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant.
(cc) Christopher Lewis

Satcon’s PowerGate Plus Spectrum micro grid solution will be used to power La Ola Hawaii’s largest solar photovoltaic farm and Micro-Grid on the island of Lana’i. The 1.2 megawatt installation sits on a 10 acre site in south Lana’i on the Palawai Basin and is the first solar photovoltaic power plant to be controlled remotely by a utility, Maui Electric Company, Ltd.

The micro grid developed, coordinated and operated by Lanai Sustainability Research, through its managing member, Castle & Cooke Solar Management, and designed and built by California-based SunPower, is expected to produce enough solar energy to supply up to 30 percent of the island’s electric demand. The advanced control capabilities and optimized power efficiencies of Satcon’s Spectrum micro grid solution, combined with SunPower’s solar tracking system, will increase the energy capture of the farm by more than 500,000 kilowatt hours annually.

“Our goal of helping the state of Hawaii achieve energy independence has taken a significant step forward with the La Ola solar farm in Lana’i,” said Harry Saunders, President of Castle & Cooke Solar Management. “Satcon was the obvious partner choice for this project as we assembled a team of the industry’s most innovative minds to pioneer our micro grid solution. The combination of their deep expertise within solar power conversion, their experience with successful large scale renewable to grid interconnection, and their proven PowerGate Plus solutions helped enable our team to solve the challenges that faced us as we constructed a stable and reliable island grid built on a solar energy framework.”

The solar farm builds on the progress of Governor Lingle’s Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative; an unprecedented state partnership launched in January 2008 with the U.S. Department of Energy which aims to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs come from clean sources by 2030. Satcon’s Spectrum channels renewable power into the Maui Electric Company grid, resulting in an increase of 14.4 percent of installed electric generating capacity to the island. La Ola offers an offset equivalent to burning 202,400 gallons of diesel fuel, thereby avoiding 4.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emission annually.

“We are honored to be a part of this best in class team of solar power innovators who are successfully supplying stable, high quality renewable power locally, at the point of demand,” said Leo Casey, Chief Technology Officer of Satcon. “What we have achieved with MECO and Castle & Cooke is a significant advancement in solving renewable energy challenges of intermittency and power storage and will ensure uninterrupted utility-grade renewable energy to deliver the energy security, reliability, safety, sustainability and cost effectiveness required for the island.”

“The La Ola, Lanai’s Solar Farm, will offer visibility to utilities around the world about how to successfully integrate solar PV power plants into the grid at high penetration levels,” said Jean Wilson, Vice President and General Manager of Utilities and Power Plants at SunPower Corp. “Satcon’s inverters provide low voltage ride-through as well as the production and consumption of reactive power, both of which are crucial to grid operation in this application, as the solar farm will provide up to 30 percent of peak generation on Lana’i. We believe that the solar power plant solution Castle & Cooke, MECO, Satcon and SunPower jointly developed will be the foundation for planning rapid growth in deployment of solar PV power plants around the world.”

Satcon Technology Corporation is a leading provider of utility scale distributed power solutions for the renewable energy market, enabling the industry’s most advanced reliable and proven clean energy alternatives. For over 23 years, Satcon has designed and delivered the next generation of efficient energy systems for solar photovoltaic, stationary fuel cells, wind-turbines, and energy storage systems. To learn more about Satcon, please visit www.Satcon.com.

Castle & Cooke Solar Management is the managing member of Lanai Sustainability Research. Castle & Cooke and its affiliated companies have operations in more than 24 states. The company’s diversified businesses include the development and ownership of real estate, leasing of transportation equipment, manufacture of brick and building materials, and ownership of public warehouses. The real estate developments of the affiliated Castle & Cooke companies include master planned communities such as Mililani Town on the island of O’ahu, Lake Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Seven Oaks in Bakersfield, Calif. and Keene’s Pointe in Orlando, Fla.

Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.

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