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Kauai: The Most Solar-Powered Hawaiian Island

While parts of Oahu and the Big Island have been powered by Hawaiian trade winds, Kauai has taken to the sun. Solar farms continue to pop up throughout the island and will soon provide about 50-percent of its daytime electricity. This would not only make it the most solar-powered island in Hawaii but also in the nation.

If you’re driving around Kauai, then you’ll definitely see the 6-megawatt solar plant in Eleele. It’s right off of the main highway. By next year, a 12-megawatt one will be in the works, as well as another 12-megawatt farm near the Koloa sugar mill. This one’s expected to go online within the next two years.

And with all this photovoltaic power going round, most of the residents have also been abuzzed. Hawaii has the highest cost of electricity in the nation. That’s why they’re excited about having lower electric bills, not to mention, having more jobs available to them. And in the broader scope, local solar will also reduce the isle’s dependance on fossil-fuel.

Just as people have complained about the wind turbines’ unsightliness, some Kauai residents have been calling solar farms an “eyesore.” The Eleele solar plant is located south of the main highway, so it’s visible to drivers. To them, it’s an eyesore because it interferes with their view toward the horizon. That’s why the solar farm planted some immature plantings, in order to hide the farm as much as they could.

But we all know that it’s impossible to hide every solar plant out there. Instead, it’s going to take a lot more effort on our part to see through the ugliness. We have to remind ourselves of the many benefits, and again, look to the broader picture – being greener will do so much good for this planet in the long run. By then, we’ll hopefully realize that turning a blind eye on those “hideous” solar farms and wind turbines turned out to be a great thing.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Nov 23, 2012