World's first MicroCSP solar farm starts in Hawaii

Work for building Keahole Solar Power, a CSP solar farm described as the first of its kind in the world, has got underway. The project broke ground with an event hosted by Sopogy, Inc. on the Big Island at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA).

The project, to be built in phases over several acres, will make large-scale use of Hawaii-based Sopogy's proprietary solar concentrating systems known as MicroCSP technologies.

Keahole Solar Power is using $10 million in state-backed special-purpose revenue bonds, approved during the 2007 legislative session.

 "MicroCSP technologies combine the efficiencies of traditional Concentrated Solar Power collectors but incorporate new key elements that are required for operation in Hawaii.  These elements include a stronger more durable frame that is able to withstand against storms and operating temperatures that enable Hawaii's contractors to install and service the system," said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO,  Sopogy.

 According to NELHA, this is the first renewable energy project at the Natural Energy Laboratory in over 30 years.

As per the information available, Sopogy said it had been conducting research and development, as well as waiting for permits to construct the solar farm. Once the first phase of the project is completed, Keahole Solar Power will produce electricity for over 100 homes. The one-megawatt solar farm will be capable of powering 500 homes and offsetting over two million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the company said.

Sopogy specialises in MicroCSP solar technologies that bring the economics of large solar energy systems to the industrial, commercial and utility sectors in a smaller, robust and more cost effective package.

 Darren T. Kimura is scheduled to speak during CSPToday's second CSP Summit US scheduled to take place in San Francisco on 30th September – 1st October this year.

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Sara Lloyd-Jones
International Director
CSP Today

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