Hawaiian Electric (HECO) asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on October 3 for approval to develop a $67-million, 20-megawatt (MW) solar energy facility in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Navy at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, West Loch Annex.
Energy produced by this project would cost 9.54 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The reasonably priced energy from the West Loch system is expected to save customers $109 million over its expected 25-year lifespan, compared with the cost of using oil to generate that energy.
Hawaiian Electric proposes to build, own, and operate the solar facility at the joint base. In exchange for the land needed for the project, the base will receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades to Navy-owned facilities. The renewable energy generated by the solar facility will feed into the island’s electric grid and serve all customers on Oahu, including those on the base.
“Thanks to the support provided by the Navy, this is a win-win for our entire community. It will save money for our customers, help the Navy achieve its renewable energy goals, and get our state closer to 100 percent renewable energy at a reasonable cost,” stated HECO CEO Alan Oshima.
If approved, construction is expected to begin in January 2018, with the project in service by December 2018.