Our project planning team has been working on the project since 2013. During a series of meetings in early 2013, with large and small community groups, businesses, and individuals, the project became a collaboration of ideas that reflects the vision and values of the Molokai community for an energy independent island.
In the outset, while the residents showed large support for the goals of the Molokai Island Energy Project, but objected to the proposed location (near Manila Camp), the use of water, and any possibility of wind power. In response, the project is now located in the industrial area near the MECO power plant and utilizes low-rise solar energy technology and simple batteries.
During 2015 and 2016, the project was re-designed to have competitive costs to diesel generated power and adequate storage to assure the PV power generated by the system never conflicted with any growth in rooftop solar.
To be able to offer power costs lower than diesel generated costs was difficult as oil dropped to under $40 per barrel, however in 2017, solar panel prices dropped, battery prices dropped, and we re-designed again to take advantage of these and other technical changes. Further, in 2017, we secured a New Markets Tax Credit, that reduced costs further, allowing an firm offer that is lower than today's cost of generating power from diesel.
The loss of the New Markets Tax Credit in early November, 2018, if permanent, will not affect the pricing we have agreed in our Purchase Power Agreement.