(HawaiiNewsNow)- One of Hawai'i's leading developers celebrated its completion of the Pearl City Peninsula Solar Energy Facility with an official "Flip the Switch" ceremony and Hawaiian blessing today. Comprised of more than 4,300 solar panels installed by Hoku Solar, it is now O'ahu's newest and largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic project, generating 1.23 megawatts of clean, renewable energy from the sun. This project marks the fourth utility-scale solar facility that Forest City Hawai'i has completed on O'ahu, making it one of the largest renewable-energy developers and owners in the state of Hawai'i.
At today's ceremony, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye - represented by Chief of Staff, Jennifer Sabas - praised the project's vision, and Governor Neil Abercrombie commended the project for advancing Hawai'i's clean energy goals. These sentiments were echoed by other event attendees, including Jerrod Schreck, president of Hoku Solar and Connie Lau, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries, chairman of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. and chairman of American Savings Bank.
"Forest City Hawai'i is proud to be at the forefront of sustainable development initiatives that improve the lives of Hawai'i residents - Pearl City Peninsula Solar Energy Facility is another shining example of this," said Jon Wallenstrom, president of Forest City Hawai'i. "We are grateful to bring clean energy to the Navy families who serve our country with honor and commitment and who are so important to the State of Hawai'i and to Forest City."
Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander, Navy Region Hawai'i and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, spoke about embracing innovation while preserving history, maintaining force readiness while achieving greater sustainability, and becoming less dependent on imported oil.
"Today, we are flipping the switch to a brighter future, and we are switching to clean energy. The time has come to move away from foreign oil and other fossil fuels wherever we can. This is another example of the Navy leading -- with our partners and friends -- in energy security," Ponds said.
Pono Shim, president and CEO of Enterprise Honolulu, the O'ahu Economic Development Board, performed the Hawaiian blessing. This was followed by a ceremonial "flipping of the switch," showcasing the electric power that is being generated by the sun to power approximately 150 to 250 Navy homes each year.
Forest City Hawai'i is able to leverage its real estate experience to create renewable energy projects that help offset the high cost of energy in Hawai'i, while also decreasing the state's dependence on fossil fuels. To date, Forest City Hawai'i owns and operates four utility-scale solar projects on O'ahu including: Pearl City Peninsula Solar Energy Facility (1.23 megawatts), Kapolei Sustainable Energy Park (1.18 megawatts), Twelker Solar Farm (0.60 megawatts) in West Oahu, Phan Solar Farm (0.57 megawatts) in West Oahu. Two additional utility-scale solar projects are scheduled to be completed in West Oahu by the end of December 2012.
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