A 6-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility is going to be built at Port Allen by the end of 2013 – the biggest on Kauai. It reveals a significant partnership forming between A&B (Alexander and Baldwin) and KIUC (Kauai Island Utility Cooperative). Renewable energy can only be harvested from Nature if you have some Nature to harvest it from. A&B are big landowners who are willing to provide some of their land for energy harvesting, while KIUC has a commitment to increasing its renewable energy portfolio.
As a result, KIUC will end up with the highest percentage of solar photovoltaic energy of any utility in America, and we are going to have one big solar farm at Port Allen!
This is energy not connected to petroleum. We just harvest it like fish or corn. This is important to KIUC in particular, which relies on oil for 89% of its power.
A&B is going to provide 20 acres of land next to the Port Allen power plant, which happens to get more sunshine than most places on Kauai. The energy collected from the sky will be stored in a KIUC battery system, from which Kauai will always have power should the primary grid fail us or cost too much. Hoku Solar Inc. and Helix Electric will partner to build the solar farm.
The hydroelectric installations at Kalaheo and Wainiha have made electricity when it rains since the old days of the McBryde Sugar Co., now providing KIUC with about 5 megawatts. A&B sees solar farming as a continuation of this long-term tradition of using local energy.