A solar energy project that supplies Lanai with 10 percent of its electricity needs recently began operating at full capacity after a battery system was installed to better integrate the renewable power into the small island electrical grid.
The La Ola photovoltaic solar project, owned by Castle & Cooke, has a maximum output of 1.5 megawatts of direct current, or 1.2 megawatts of after converting the power to alternating current for household use.
Since launch of the La Ola project in December 2008 its output had been restricted because officials were concerned that the power fluctuations associated with solar energy might damage the electrical grid. To address the issue Castle & Cooke installed a battery back-up system developed by Xtreme Power to smooth out the volatility of the solar energy. Completion of the battery installation, orignally scheduled for last summer, was delayed due to technical issues.
When operating at full power the La Ola project has the largest percentage of solar energy penetration of any independent island grid in the world, according to Castle & Cooke.
A 1.21 megawatt solar power farm that will feed electricity into the Kauai electrical grid is on track to be completed by the end of this year, according the company developing the project.
The photovoltaic system being built in Kapaa for the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative would be about the same size as the La Ola Solar Farm on Lanai, which is currently the state’s largest.
The solar farm will help the KIUC as it does its part to meet the state’s objective to generate more of its electricity from renewable sources. KIUC announced last week that it plans to break ground next year on a 3-megawatt photovoltaic system in Koloa on the southern side of the island.
The Kapaa solar project is being developed by REC Solar, which has installed smaller systems across the state, including ones at three Costco stores, a Longs Drug Store, Kauai Community College and Tony Auto Group.