Ameresco, Bright Canyon Develop Solar, Battery Grid Project in Hawai‘i

Ameresco Inc. and Bright Canyon Energy, an energy infrastructure developer, are working on the proposed Kūpono Solar Project, a combined solar and battery system to be built at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex in Hawai‘i. The project is designed to deliver 42 MW of renewable energy to Hawaiian Electric’s grid on the island of O‘ahu.

Ameresco has been implementing energy solutions in Hawai‘i for over 15 years. Bright Canyon has been working on energy infrastructure solutions for over 15 years. In 2021, Ameresco and Bright Canyon established a joint venture known as Kūpono Solar Development Co. LLC to partner together to advance the Kūpono Solar Project. This is the first project for the joint venture to focus on renewable energy, energy security and resiliency on O‘ahu. In support of a Department of Defense long-term energy security initiative, Kūpono Solar signed a 37-year land lease with the Navy to provide critical energy resiliency upgrades. The lease covers approximately 131 acres in the Navy West Loch Annex, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The project will include the installation of a 42 MW/168MWh photovoltaic array and a 42MW/168MWh (four-hour duration), of lithium-ion batteries storage system. The batteries will store solar energy beyond sunset hours, enabling the project to deliver sustainable, renewable energy to power approximately 10,000 homes on O‘ahu. In addition, this clean energy project will be designed to reduce more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually from Hawai‘i’s environment – the equivalent to offsetting emissions from 12,000 cars every year.

“The Navy is excited to see this joint Kūpono Solar/Hawaiian Electric project move forward for our community’s benefit,” says Capt. Randall E. Harmeyer, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s public works officer. “This enables us to put 131 acres of underutilized land to long-term, sustainable use for Hawai‘i at a time when the cost and reliability of worldwide energy supplies is of great concern and reflects the Navy’s core commitment to energy security and resiliency for America.”

Ameresco and Bright Canyon are working to bring diverse clean energy solutions to Hawai‘i, and this is the first project supporting this large, long-term energy resiliency plan.

“We are excited to be working with the Navy, Hawaiian Electric, and the community on this important sustainability project in Hawai‘i. The energy generated and stored on this underutilized land will directly benefit the residents, businesses, and communities of O‘ahu,” states Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president at Ameresco. “In addition, it will replace energy generated by burning fossil fuel, thereby reducing emissions and greenhouse gases and create a cleaner, healthier place for residents to live, work and play.”

“This project aligns with the energy priorities and policies set forth by the state of Hawai‘i, including the 100 percent renewable energy and carbon neutral goals by 2045,” mentions Jason Smith, general manager of Bright Canyon Energy. “We are committed to working with Hawaiian Electric, the Navy and the local community as we move forward with this exciting project that will deliver a range of benefits for the clean energy future of O‘ahu.”

Construction is expected complete in early 2024. Kūpono Solar, the joint venture, will own and operate this solar and battery project under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric.