Solar Farm Surprise? HECO Won't Say Where It's Putting New Huge Energy Projects

KIUC

Hawaiian Electric Co. is hoping to fast-track nine solar farms on Oahu that could mean hundreds of thousands of solar panels stretching across areas equivalent to 40 Ala Moana Shopping Centers.

The power is expected to lower consumer electricity bills, in addition to moving Hawaii away from its dependency on oil-fired generators.

But where will all of these solar panels go?

HECO won’t say.

Who is going to develop them?

That’s proprietary too. And HECO even wants state regulators to exempt the projects from competitive bidding requirements.

HECO will say that it hopes the solar farms will be up and running by the end of 2015. The utility already agreements with developers for specific projects, including timelines and prices for the power.

But the public won’t get more information about the projects until HECO submits final contracts with each developer to Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission for approval.

“It is very weird,” said Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land and longtime HECO critic. “It seems to me that you would want to identify (the location) sooner rather than later so you can figure out if the site is good or bad.”

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