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Solar panels going up on Hickam

Owner and installer SolarCity plans to sell the electricity its units generate to the Air Force

By Alan Yonan Jr.

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:36 p.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011


Rooftop photovoltaic panels being installed at Hickam Air Force Base will provide renewable energy for 2,000 homes on base, developers of the project said Friday.

The 4-megawatt system being installed by SolarCity will generate an estimated 5.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year and move the Department of Defense closer to its goal of having 25 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by 2025.

The panels will be installed during the next two years on 600 homes in Hickam Communities, a housing development owned and managed by Lend Lease under a contract with the Air Force, according to a joint news release issued by SolarCity and Lend Lease. The electricity from the panels will be shared with 2,000 homes in the development. The system will be tied into the Hawaiian Electric Co. grid.

SolarCity, which owns the PV system, will sell the electricity it generates to the Air Force at a fixed price over the next 20 years. Preliminary work began on the project began May 31, and the installation of PV panels will continue over the next two years.

Hickam Communities becomes the second solar-powered community on an Air Force base following the installation of PV panels on rooftops in 2009 at Soaring Heights at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

"Hickam Communities and Lend Lease's use of renewable, solar energy will have a positive impact on the local environment and island economy," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.

San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity announced Monday its entry into the Hawaii market. The company said it will hire 55 workers for the project.

The energy generated by the project over the next 20 years will be enough to offset 260 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, SolarCity estimates.

Hawaii has among the most generous subsidies for solar power of any state. In addition to a 30 percent tax credit offered by the federal government, the state provides an additional 35 percent tax credit.






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