Hawaiian Electric, U.S. Navy Break Ground on West Loch Solar Project
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Hawaiian Electric Company and the Department of the Navy broke ground on a 20-megawatt solar facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex. When completed in December, the West Loch project will produce the lowest-cost renewable energy in the state at less than 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Hawaiian Electric will own and operate the 80,760-panel solar facility, which is being built by REC Solar.
The renewable energy generated by the 102-acre West Loch project will feed into the island's electric grid and serve all customers on O?ahu, including those on base.
The project will save Hawaiian Electric customers at least $109 million over its expected 25-year lifespan, compared with the cost of using oil to generate electricity. It will also reduce the utility's use of imported oil by 76,000 barrels annually.
"This partnership with the Navy is another example of how we're working to create value for all customers while helping the military achieve its resilience goals," said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO. "Replacing fossil fuels with grid-scale solar will help slow the effects of climate change and benefit all customers with low-priced energy for decades to come."
In exchange for the land to host the facility, the utility will provide electrical infrastructure upgrades to Navy-owned facilities.
"Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is the key strategic installation for our interests in the Pacific," said Capt. Jeff Bernard, joint base commander at Pearl Harbor-Hickam. "We are pleased to be able to increase our base's energy resiliency while also helping Hawaiian Electric strengthen the state's electric grid."
The Hawaiian Electric Companies are national leaders in the integration of renewable energy on their island grids, using renewables to generate 27 percent of their electricity in 2017.