Hawai‘i’s newest renewable project will expand 10-year internship program and clean energy education opportunities for Hawai‘i students.
Waiawa, Hawai‘i — Clearway Energy Group (Clearway) celebrated the official dedication of its new 36-megawatt (MW) Waiawa Solar farm with 144 MWh of battery storage today, commemorating another milestone in the company’s ongoing partnership with Kamehameha Schools.
The solar farm is located on 180 acres of land leased from Kamehameha Schools in Waiawa in Central O‘ahu. As part of Clearway’s multi-year community commitment, Waiawa Solar is hosting local and mainland internships and programs for students in renewable energy education in partnership with Blue Planet Foundation and Kamehameha Schools.
Since its inception in 2018, the partnership has supported classroom programs and events for Hawai‘i students on climate change and renewable energy, as well as a summer internship program through which Native Hawaiian college students join the Clearway team to explore a wide range of careers in renewable energy. The Waiawa project will continue funding that program, which to date has sponsored 15 student interns. In 2022, Clearway’s partnership with Blue Planet Foundation helped support programming and events reaching over 1,900 students and teachers in Hawai‘i.
“We’re thrilled to continue investing in Hawai‘i and to help the state move closer to its climate goals and its commitment to leaving the world a better place for future generations,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway. “We are especially proud of working with Kamehameha Schools and Blue Planet Foundation to create access to clean energy education and exposure to career pathways.”
This is the second utility-scale solar project that Clearway has developed on Kamehameha Schools’ lands on O‘ahu.
“Our collaboration with Clearway has provided us with paths to steward our ‘āina in ways to reduce Hawai‘i’s dependence on fossil fuels while bringing ‘āina-based learning to haumāna through partnerships and innovations,” Kamehameha Schools’ Vice President of Community and ‘Ᾱina Resiliency Kā‘eo Duarte said. “We congratulate Clearway and Hawaiian Electric Co. in reaching this milestone which we believe will help to contribute to the resiliency of our communities.”
Clearway is a national independent power producer and leading solar energy developer in Hawai‘i. This is Clearway’s second utility-scale solar and battery project on O‘ahu and the fifth utility-scale solar project that it has developed on the island.
“Clean energy is better for our air, our health, and our cost of living,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D. “This solar project is an important addition to O‘ahu’s growing portfolio of lower-cost renewable resources to benefit all residents. We commend Clearway Energy Group and their partners for their continued contribution to providing clean energy at a price that is lower than fossil-fuel alternatives.”
The solar farm generates clean electricity at about half the cost of fossil fuels and feeds the entire O‘ahu grid, benefiting all island ratepayers. The battery system stores electricity to make it available after the sun goes down and when the demand for power peaks.
“As we work to stabilize energy costs for our customers, projects like Waiawa Solar play a critical role by feeding electricity to the grid at about half the cost of oil,” said Shelee Kimura, president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric. “Mahalo to Clearway and Kamehameha Schools for their contributions as we all work together to decarbonize our energy system. We look forward to bringing even more benefits to our communities as six additional projects come online over the next two years on O‘ahu.”
Kahu Kordell Kekoa conducted a Hawaiian blessing ceremony on the site, which generates enough clean electricity to annual power more than 7,600 homes.
Clearway has developed renewable projects in Hawai‘i since 2019, including a 45.9 MW site in Waipi‘o, a 14.7 MW site in Mililani, and a 49 MW site in Kawailoa on O‘ahu’s North Shore. In August 2022, Clearway completed O‘ahu’s first utility-scale solar and battery project in the Mililani Agricultural Park. Altogether, the five solar projects total 185 MW for Hawaiian Electric’s grid and generate enough clean electricity to power more than 45,500 O‘ahu homes each year.
Project construction was led by Moss and the batteries were supplied by Wärtsilä.