DHHL Selects Community Solar Developers

Posted on Mar 16, 2021 in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Media Releases, Slider


March 16, 2021

DHHL Selects Community Solar Developers

(Kapolei, Oʻahu) – The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has selected two renewable energy developers to advance in the process to lease DHHL revenue-generating parcels for proposed solar and storage projects on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. The selection follows an August 2020 solicitation by the Department and a subsequent initial round of Beneficiary Consultation.

The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Energy (ICAST) and Nexamp Solar, LLC (Nexamp) were selected among eight applications received.

DHHL intends to issue a general lease for land to be used for renewable energy projects, pursuant to Section 171-95.3 HRS, as amended. Renewable energy was determined by the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) and its beneficiaries to be an appropriate use of these lands through the development of the Department’s Island Plans, as well as DHHL’s 2009 Hoʻomaluō Energy Policy.

Applications for four parcels of land were solicited by DHHL in Nānākuli, Oʻahu; Hoʻolehua, Molokaʻi; and Kawaihae and Kalaoa, Hawaiʻi Island. There were potentially ten parcels of land throughout the state identified for renewable energy projects.

The Department’s solicitation was made to ascertain potential developers who were interested in utilizing a portion of DHHL’s revenue-generating properties to respond to Hawaiian Electric’s upcoming Community-Based Renewable Energy (CBRE) Requests for Proposals. CBRE provides a way for participating subscribers, without access to rooftop solar, for example, to benefit from reduced electric bills as a result of a renewable energy facility located in their utility service territory.

All eight of the applications included CBRE, also known as community solar projects. One application for the Kawaihae, Hawaiʻi Island site did not comply with the submission requirements, so it was withdrawn.  DHHL received one application for the Hoʻolehua, Molokaʻi site, but it was also withdrawn before the submission deadline for evaluation. An applicant for Molokaʻi was therefore not selected. 

Location Selected Applicant Subscription Type1 Project Size2 Acreage2
Nānākuli The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (“ICAST”) LMI 15 MW 80-90 acres
Kawaihae Nexamp Solar, LLC (“Nexamp”) LMI 3 MW 20.4 acres
Kalaoa Nexamp Solar, LLC LMI 6 MW 40 acres

1The applicant’s proposed market for subscribers to the community solar project will be those in the lower-to-middle income (“LMI”) range.

2Proposed project size and acreage are tentative and subject to change following site studies and other factors.

ICAST is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a history of designing and launching programs that meaningfully impact communities by delivering economic, environmental, and social benefits.  ICAST has partnered with local utilities and governments to deliver clean energy, affordable housing, and workforce training programs nationally.  ICAST is currently developing solar farms for Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) communities nationally.  The primary purpose of its solar farms is to bring the benefits of solar power, including a reduction in utility bills, to members of the community, if they choose to participate.  ICAST programs also provide energy efficiency and solar installation training to unemployed or under-employed community members.  

Nexamp is a clean energy company that has grown from a small residential solar installer to a fully integrated solar development company that develops, owns, and operates over 200 projects in nearly a dozen states. Of those projects, over half are community solar projects, delivering real savings to thousands of households.  The growth and success of Nexamp’s program can be attributed to its fair and equitable community solar subscription platform which allows all people to support clean energy, regardless of income or credit history. Nexamp is committed to bringing forward solar solutions that directly benefit Hawaiian communities and are compatible with each site’s unique landscape and history.

An Environmental Assessment, beneficiary consultation, and public hearings will be part of the leasing process prior to the eventual execution of a general lease for each site.

DHHL’s second round of Beneficiary Consultation meetings are tentatively scheduled for April or May 2021. A formal announcement will be made once the dates have been finalized.

After the second round of Beneficiary Consultation meetings, public hearing notices will be posted and the Department will work with the selected applicants and HHC to conduct two public hearings on the islands where the projects are being proposed. After the completion of the two public hearings, HHC will render its decision on the Right-of-Entry permit for due diligence purposes. The Right-of-Entry permit would be converted to a General Lease when all conditions, including securing a Power Purchase Agreement with HECO, are satisfied. 


About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands carries out Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by returning them to the land. Established by U.S. Congress in 1921, with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program run by DHHL includes management of over 200,000 acres of land statewide with the specific purpose of developing and delivering homesteading.

Media Contact:
Cedric Duarte
Information and Community Relations Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
(808) 620-9591
[email protected]