Thursday, May 27, 2010

Castle & Cooke Plans Nation’s 2nd Largest Solar Farm

Castle & Cooke's 1.2-MW solar far on Lanai.
With all due respect to Florida, Hawaii is the Sunshine State. Consider what we learned just today – that Tampa, FL experiences 30,000 to 50,000 lightning strikes each year. They’re not bolts out of the blue; they’re bolts out of CLOUDS! Our back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests Florida is much cloudier than Hawaii, so there you have it.

In light of the Sunshiny Aloha State’s abundant solar energy cascade, a reasonable reaction to today’s news about a 20-megawatt photovoltaic solar farm destined for central Oahu might be, “It’s about time!” With pineapple no longer the cash crop it once was, Castle & Cooke (owned by Dole Food Company) is going to convert 120 acres of a pineapple plantation to a solar energy crop.

At 20 MW, the plant (which requires Public Utilities Commission approval) will be about 17 times larger than Castle & Cooke’s solar farm on the island of Lanai, now the state’s largest such facility.

The farm could be up and running as early as next year and would support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative by taking another bite out of Hawaii’s massive dependence on imported oil for the generation of electricity. Every 20-MW bite counts.

No comments: