The garden island will soon be even greener. Solar farms that are popping up around the island are set to provide 50% of the island’s daytime electric in the very near future, and reduce oil consumption here by 1.7 million gallons per year. When completed, Kauai will have the highest percentage of photovoltaic power of any utility in the U.S.
We’re excited to see the islands’ dependence on fossil fuel based electricity reduced. Locally produced solar power will be more reliable then fuel delivered long distance by ship. It will also create jobs on the island, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the state’s overall clean energy plans.
Wind farms with the potential to harness the Hawaii trade winds are not favored since turbines have been associated with bird mortality. Hawaii birds are considered to include many of the world’s most unique species.
The latest project in Koloa
A new 12 megawatt farm has just been announced. It will be built on a 67 acre parcel near the Koloa sugar mill, off the by-pass road which leads to Poipu. It is expected to be online within two years.
Other Kauai solar projects
A 6-megawatt solar plant is being completed just south of the highway on Kauai’s south shore in Eleele. The current eyesore is most visible from the highway. Now immature plantings will eventually grow to help hide the large field from passersby.
At Anahola, en route to Kauai’s north shore, another 12 megawatt solar farm is expected to begin construction after the first of the year.
The price of paradise
As you may know, the cost of electricity in Hawaii is the highest in the U.S., running 200% to 400% more than in any other state. And power bills are a popular topic of discussion among residents here.
If you’re driving around Kauai, you’ve no doubt seen or will soon be seeing these big changes. They aren’t all together pleasing to the eye. When reminded of the myriad of benefits, however, we may begin to look at them from a different perspective.
This is how it looks
Check back later today and we’ll post a photo here of the almost completed solar farm in Eleele.
I think the islands should look at wind spires instead, as they are being used on the mainland in many applications (on top of schools, at the entry of new neighbourhoods to power the street lights).
sure they may not look pretty now, but i think it’s better than all those wind turbines on Maui… now if only they could make electricity from all that rain in waimea and up on waialeale…
i don’t think these farms are ugly at all considering what they will accomplish. no news as to whether our costs per kilowatt hr. will go down? i guess that is never mentioned. i’d rather see these farms than more and more condos which are just as ugly for a different reason, provide nothing but more overpopulation, more traffic, and more litter and garbage we can not accommodate. i say bravo for going green and thinking about the environment as well as being at the forefront of reducing our dependence on fossil fuel.
This is indeed great news ! I am a little curious as to how it will impact the visitors to Poipu. My guess is that it will be a big positive mostly because it will keep those 67 acres from being (over)developed with more condos. But also the fact that Kauai can really boast about being truly green (in a number of ways). I only wonder how much of an eyesore it will be. More interesting from this point of view is the biomass plant nearby and if there will be a mitigation plan for all of the smoke in case the winds blow in the wrong direction. In any case it is nice to see Kauai being a leader in this area.