Solar power farm breaks ground on the Big Island

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Power from the sun will soon be generating enough electricity for 500 homes on the Big Island. After a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday for Keahole Solar Power, the first phase is under way.

Using Hawaii based company Sopogy's system known as Micro Concentrated Solar Power technologies, this solar farm will be the first of its kind in the world.

"MicrosopCSP technologies combine the efficiencies of traditional Concentrated Solar Power collectors but incorporate new key elements that are required for operation in Hawaii," said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy.

Those key elements include; a stronger more durable frame with the capability of operating in high temperatures and the new MicrosopCSP system will also enable Hawaii's contractors to install and service the system themselves.

Using refelectors and optics to harness the energy from the sun the new system allows generated heat to pass through a turbine and thus produce electricity.

Those at Sopogy believe their new solar power technology if spread far enough could collect enough power for the Big Island and Maui. The first phase which is currently under way will produce power for 100 Hawaii homes and subsequent phases will follow. In its entirety, the project will generate 1 megawatt which will off set over 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. They believe that no matter what it will create, clean, renewable power for Hawaii.

"Our technologies create energy from the sun, a sustainable and renewable energy resource and will help Hawaii break its bonds to imported fossil fuel,"said Kimura.

The Sopogy system was initially modeled after a similar project that was very successful in the Mojave Desert in the mid 1980's.