Frequently Asked questions
174 Power Global proposes to install, own, and operate a 60 MW solar photovoltaic energy facility with a four-hour battery (240MWh battery energy storage system, “BESS”) on a site in the ʻEwa – Kunia area of Oʻahu in response to Hawaiian Electric Company’s Variable Renewable Dispatchable Generation Island of Oʻahu 2019 Request for Proposals.
The photovoltaic solar and energy storage system would be interconnected to the grid on the Kahe to Waiau 138 kV transmission line.
The proposed project consists of solar photovoltaic modules, solar PV pad-mounted inverters, pad-mounted battery modules and inverters, medium voltage transformers, a site controller system, medium voltage switchgear, main power transformer, and relaying and telecommunications equipment necessary to safely integrate the project into the existing grid.
The project is sited on approximately 200 acres of low-productivity agricultural lands (LSB D and LSB E soils classification), immediately adjacent to the Kahe to Waiau 138 kV transmission line. Results of the initial studies of biological, cultural, and historic resources indicate no adverse findings.
The project has been selected to the Stage 2 Final Award Group, and if a Power Purchase Agreement is signed and approved, the project will be authorized under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.
The project is expected to use Tier-1 PV modules, backed by a world class research & development team. The panels will be mounted on a racking system that rotates through the day, following the sun to maximize electricity generation.
The PV panels are designed to absorb not reflect the sun. The panels are equipped with anti-reflective glass.
PV Solar panels are the same type of safe technology that is used on residential rooftops. They create no emissions, toxins, radiation, or noise.
The project will utilize lithium-ion batteries housed in the most modernized containers. Lithium-ion batteries will allow energy produced during the day to be dispatched to the electric grid when the residents and businesses have peak demand.
Each battery container will utilize best practices, and placement and maintenance will follow recommended fire safety protocols, such as vegetation control and fire breaks in consultation with fire safety authorities. To further secure the project, a number of measures will be implemented to protect the system and reduce the risk of fire or spread of fire.
- The project will utilize the most up-to-date technology for monitoring and control
- The batteries will be isolated in sturdy corrosive resistant containers with fire suppression systems
- The batteries will be split up into multiple containers to allow the isolation of any failure
- The containers will be placed on non-flammable concrete pads that have adequate access for emergency personnel to manage any occurrence and to prevent any spread of fire
- Each container will be fitted with adequately sized non-water aerosol fire suppression units that can extinguish fire within the container units
It’s important to note that the majority of battery failures are a result of the batteries being used outside their designed operational parameters.
View studies from immediate neighborhoods will be conducted by our independent consultant. Where possible, mitigation efforts will be implemented. The view studies will be available on the website and at community meetings.
Although the project has been selected to the Stage 2 Final Award Group, it must still negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement with the electric utility and receive approval by the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission. It must also successfully complete environmental, cultural, and permitting activities. The construction phase will follow only after these steps are completed, and the system will be ready to connect to the grid in 2022.
The ideal utility scale solar project must have a high solar resource, be close to utility transmission lines, on suitable, available land, and able to be approved through the permitting process. This site meets all that criteria.
The development team is very cognizant of the traffic burdens already experienced by many area residents. We do not foresee traffic issues during construction. Traffic alerts will be issued to the surrounding community prior to any anticipated traffic impacts. After construction and during operation there will be no traffic impact.
At the end of the project’s life, this temporary use of land will be delivered back to the landowner. At that time, the land will be returned in the same condition it was originally, and the solar panels and other equipment will be re-used, recycled, or disposed of properly off island.
Will residential homes in the surrounding area be prohibited from installing and utilizing PV panels on their rooftops?
This project will not compete for capacity with residential circuits. It will connect to the grid at a high voltage transmission level, not a residential circuit level.
The facility will also be able to store production via batteries. This allows the system to store the energy, not send it to the grid, allowing more rooftop solar to generate when it is most productive. The project batteries can dispatch energy when it is most needed, after the sun sets and into the evening when rooftop solar has trailed off.
174 Power Global, the project development arm of Hanwha Energy, is among the world’s top solar energy solutions providers. With over 40 utility-scale solar and battery storage projects totaling 3.1 gigawatts (GW) currently in service worldwide, and with approximately 10 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar PV projects and 7 GWh of battery energy storage projects in various stages of development and construction, 174 Power Global has the capabilities and experience to make this project a success. This team is committed to Hawaiʻi, working here since 2012, and is the developer and operator of Oʻahu’s solar energy plant, Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park now in operation in Kalaeloa, and the Ho`ohana Solar project nearby in Kunia.
Nationally, 174 Power Global was named the #1 solar project development company in the United States by Wood Mackenzie, a leading energy analyst firm.
The average cost to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity varies greatly, primarily driven by the fluctuating cost of a barrel of imported oil. The cost of generation of electricity and the grid infrastructure contributes to the cost of electricity that utility customers pay. This project will provide stable rates for the generation portion of the electric bill for the next 20 years. Ultimately, the utility and the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission sets and approves the electric rates to the consumer and businesses in the state.
The facility will harness the power of the sun to provide clean, renewable energy to the state. Solar energy is a sustainable power source that reduces Hawaiʻi’s dependence on the volatile high cost of imported fossil fuel, also reducing CO2 emissions, greenhouse gasses, air pollution, and water pollution.
The project will assist in stabilizing electricity prices for the utility customers, lessening the effects of the volatile and high cost alternative of burning oil and coal. Renewable energy will help reduce the millions of dollars Hawaiʻi spends annually on imported fossil fuels and direct dollars back to our local economy. Utility scale solar PV will share savings with all utility customers, not just those who can afford rooftop PV.
In addition, this project will help the State of Hawaiʻi achieve its goal and legislative mandate of 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality by 2045.
The project will provide hundreds of jobs during construction and some specialized permanent jobs once it begins operating. The intent is to hire locally. In addition, these jobs and the income and benefits they provide will support many other jobs and income throughout the local economy in retail spending, services, and taxes.
We are also committed to working with the surrounding community to understand how we can be a good neighbor and help to support their priorities.
The project team will continue to keep an open dialogue about the project with neighboring residents, community and government leaders, associations, and businesses in an effort to keep community stakeholders informed and engaged.
Also, please visit the website kupehausolar.com for details.
We will conduct virtual or in-person project specific meetings, attend community meetings, and hope to have the opportunity to meet with associations, organizations, and individuals. Meeting opportunities will be published on our website and announcements will be provided utilizing various tools.
We are committed to this community and we want to be a good neighbor. We want to hear from you and will consider your questions and feedback to make this a better project.
While we welcome your comments at any time, formal comment periods will open prior and during the application to the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission process in consideration of the Power Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Electric Company. This will enable you to provide formal feedback, which will be filed with the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission.