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Navy, HECO team up for 100-acre solar facility at West Loch annex

The Navy held a lease-signing ceremony today with the Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 20-megawatt alternating current solar farm at Pearl Harbor’s West Loch Annex that HECO said would be the second largest for photovoltaics in the state.

HECO plans to build, own and operate the solar facility. In exchange for the approximately 100 acres needed for the project, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will receive in-kind consideration in the form of electrical infrastructure upgrades to Navy-owned facilities, HECO said.

The ceremonial signing held at the Hickam Officers’ Club was attended by, among others, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Dennis McGinn; Gov. David Ige; and Alan Oshima, HECO’s president and CEO.

“The Department of the Navy and the state of Hawaii made a commitment to enhancing the resiliency of the state’s electric grid and our installations through expanding renewable energy in the state,” McGinn said in a release. “To this end, we are partnering with organizations like Hawaiian Electric Company that can develop high-quality solar facilities to achieve all of our goals. This project is the epitome of a win-win-win for the Department of the Navy, for Hawaiian Electric, and for the state of Hawaii.”

The renewable energy generated by the solar facility will feed into the island’s electric grid and serve all customers on Oahu, including those on the base, HECO said. The project requires the approval of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

“We are building momentum on our journey toward 100 percent renewable energy. We’ll get there by working closely with the Navy and our other partners in the community to develop smart, sustainable projects,” Oshima said.

Hawaiian Electric Companies said it used renewables to generate more than 23 percent of the companies’ electricity in 2015 on island grids.

The company said the 27.6-megawatt Waianae Solar project, being developed by Eurus Energy, will be the largest solar farm in Hawai.

HECO noted other renewable energy projects including:

>> The 24-megawatt Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku.

>> The new 50-megawatt biofuel-capable Schofield Generation Station.

>> Ongoing approvals of rooftop PV systems, with more than 77,000 systems approved.

>> The 8-megawatt Honolulu International Airport Emergency Power Facility.

>> Two 2.87-megawatt solar farms on Maui.

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