HECO requests PUC approval for Pearl Harbor solar energy project

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A joint project between Hawaiian Electric Co. and the U.S. Navy is now in the hands of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

HECO asked the PUC Monday for approval to build a solar facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, West Loch Annex.

If approved, it would be the lowest cost renewable energy project in the state.

We first told you about this project in July, when a celebratory lease signing took place with Gov. David Ige.

The $67 million project would be built, owned, and operated by HECO. In exchange for the land needed for the project, the base would receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades to Navy-owned facilities.

The renewable energy generated by this facility — produced at a cost of 9.54 cents per kilowatt-hour — would 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,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO.

If approved, construction is expected to begin in January 2018, with the project in service by December 2018.

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