One of Hawaii’s first major solar energy installations is shut down

May 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Duane Shimogawa
Reporter- Pacific Business News


Holaniku at Keahole Point on the Big Island, which was one of the first major utility-scale solar energy installations in Hawaii, has shut down after breaking ground about eight years ago, the project’s landlord confirmed to PBN.

Greg Barbour, executive director of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority in Kailua-Kona, which runs the Hawaii Ocean Science Technology Park where Holaniku was located, said that its lease was recently terminated.

The four-acre utility-scale solar farm, which was spearheaded by Hawaii entrepreneur Darren Kimura, consisted of about 1,000 solar-thermal collectors with a total capacity of 2-megawatts.

The project’s demise stemmed from Sopogy Inc. recently shutting down its operations.

The company, which was founded by Kimura about a decade ago, is currently in the middle of an insolvency proceeding under which its assets are being liquidated.

The research and development project sold electricity it generated to Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s grid.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Barbour told PBN. “In the last 10 years, there has been downturns, but we didn’t lose any companies [during those years]. This is the first one that we did [lose].”

He also pointed out that the project was nearing the end of its 10-year lease, and that it had a good run.

“We’re a place for research and development projects, so not everybody is going to succeed,” Barbour said. “We have secured the property and we’re trying to decide what to do with it.”

Some options include leasing the land to another solar-thermal energy or solar photovoltaic developer, he said.

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.

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