Largest Solar Farm Planned For Oahu

KAPOLEI (KHNL) -- It would be the largest of its kind on Oahu - a solar farm designed to help shield our islands from skyrocketing oil prices.

The James Campbell Company went public Monday afternoon on a plan to tag-team with Hoku Solar, a subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, to build the solar facility.

Hoku says it wouldn't just be the largest solar facility on Oahu, it would be one of the largest in the nation.

Using sunlight instead of oil to produce electricity is a vision shining down on Kapolei.

"It's very important because we want to be a model for sustainable development. This is the first of many projects that we hope we'll be able to develop in terms of alternative energy," said Campbell Company CEO Stephen MacMillan.

The Campbell Company signed on with Hoku Solar to build a solar farm next to the James Campbell Industrial Park. Over 25 years, the facility would produce the same amount of electricity used to power 6,700 homes in one year.

"Over the life of the system, we would be looking at about 38,000 tons of offset carbon dioxide emissions. It would also be the equivalent of 120,000 barrels of oil that we would not need to burn to generate this electricity in the state of Hawaii," said Hoku Scientific Vice President of Business Development, Scott Paul.

The solar farm would sit on a 12-acre parcel, which used to be dumping grounds for hazardous waste. Now, it'll be transformed into an area that will benefit the environment.

"We would either sell the electricity at a rate lower than what the utility rate is today and then it escalates a little bit each year but it always stays under the utility rate or we can fix it at a slightly higher rate but it stays the same for 25 years," said Paul.

MacMillan says the solar farm reflects a bright future in store for Hawaii's environment, saying more alternative energy projects like this are on the horizon.

Hoku will either sell the solar energy to businesses next to the solar farm, or to Hawaiian Electric Company. HECO would then distribute it to its customers.

Groundbreaking is set for the end of the year.