Missile defense site might harness sun

The Navy wants to power up what could be one of the largest solar farms in the state at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, where ongoing missile testing requires unwavering power for flight tests that process huge amounts of data.

The solar photovoltaic system with battery storage could generate up to 44 megawatts of direct-current, or DC, power, according to a draft environmental assessment for the project.

Among the benefits would be improved power quality “to reduce the daily need to operate diesel generators in support of current and future mission operations and testing capabilities,” according to the report.

The on-base power supply would supplement “the more vulnerable and lower quality power” from the distant Kauai Island Utility Cooperative power plant in Eleele. Not adopting the solar plan “would prolong the existing energy security risk” that results from PMRF’s reliance on a single electrical transmission line and backup diesel generators, the environmental report said.

The assessment said 2…

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