Oahu Gets Hawaii’s Largest Solar Canopy

Hawaii admits to being the most fossil fuel-dependent state in the nation, relying on imported oil for more than 90 percent of its energy. But the state is trying to change that, forming the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative that has among its goals meeting 40 percent of the state’s energy needs locally by 2030. An 856-kilowatt (kW) solar power project announced for a business park on Oahu might represent but a tiny step toward that goal; it is, however, becoming that island’s largest solar canopy project.

This is a three-way effort between Chevron Energy Solutions, which designed and engineered the project, and expects to have it installed in the first quarter of 2011; Tioga Energy, which will finance and own the system; and Oceanic Time Warner Cable, which will have the system on two of its buildings and over parking areas, and will buy the power from Tioga over the next 20 years.

Canopy solar project, Chevron Energy Solutions

image via Chevron Energy Solutions

Chevron said “by reducing the purchase of utility power, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions equivalent to the carbon sequestered annually by more than 225 acres of trees.” And another benefit: The rooftop solar installation is expected to help the company achieve LEED Gold for its new annex building at the Mililani Tech Park.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.