Makana Lā Solar

Makana Lā, meaning "Sun's Gift", is a utility-scale solar and battery storage power plant
80 MW
Solar Photovoltaic
480 MWh
Battery Storage
20 Year
PPA with HECO*
*To be executed in 2024
Online Date
Makana Lā area

Project Overview

Makana Lā Solar is a thoughtfully-sited 80 MW photovoltaic facility with a 6-hour battery (480 MWh) that will provide low-cost renewable energy to the grid for 20 years at a fixed annual price. The project will make clean energy available to the grid after the sun goes down when demand for electricity peaks. 

Makana Lā Solar will generate enough clean energy to power over 19,600 homes.

The project sells power directly to HECO to benefit all O'ahu ratepayers with power prices well below HECO’s avoided cost to procure electricity via fossil fuels. The project is conducting extensive community engagement efforts and includes a community benefit package for 20 years whereby $240,000 per year will be donated to community programs with a focus on education, workforce development, and sustainable, local agriculture. 

Community Outreach Plan

Clearway is focused on carefully informing and engaging with neighboring communities and stakeholders about the project scope, the project benefits, the development and governmental process, as well providing the community with timely information throughout all phases of the Makana Lā Solar project, giving the community an opportunity to engage and weigh-in on the project. Clearway plans to connect with the community through early talk story meetings with community members as well as Town Hall meetings, presentations to neighborhood boards, and other outreach channels as the project progresses.

The following is a high-level schedule for Clearway’s Community Outreach Plan, which has already commenced and is due to continue after the PPA is submitted to the State Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for approval in Q4 2024, through to construction and operations. Key milestones for outreach to the community include:

  • Upon Final Award
  • Prior to application for Conditional Use Permit Minor (CUPminor) from Honolulu DPP
  • Prior to start of construction following receipt of land use permits and prior to issuance of building/grading permits
  • During construction in order to ensure community has an opportunity to share any impacts due to construction

Each of these milestones and throughout the schedule described below, there are opportunities for Clearway to share with the community and for the community to share with Clearway. These communications will also provide opportunities for Clearway to share iterations it is making on the Project, the Community Benefit Package and the Community Benefit Fund in response to community concerns that are shared.

Click here to view Clearway's Community Outreach Plan for the Makana Lā Solar Project.

Community Benefit Package

Investing in the Community

Community Benefit Fund

  • The Makana Lā Solar Community Benefit Fund will include an annual contribution of $240,000/year managed by a local non-profit organization with a Board or allocation committee thoughtfully appointed with input from local community members and landowners.
  • The community benefit funds will be spent on local projects, donated to local non-profits, and directed by the community, with a focus on education, community empowerment, and workforce development.

Restorative Development

  • Soil restoration, reforestation and agriculture training and workforce development opportunities in partnership with Hawaiʻi Agricultural Research Center (HARC) and agriculture partners in line with the goals of the Pālehua Lands Conservation Easement and as required by land lease agreement.
  • Clearway’s commitment to continued agrivoltaics research ($80,000/year) for Phase 2 of demonstration project with partners and Hawaiʻi Agriculture Research Center (HARC) at Clearway’s Lanikuhana and Mililani I Solar project sites.

Educational Partnerships

  • Commitment to offering clean energy education to local schools and students, in partnership with Clearway's education partner Blue Planet Foundation.
  • Dedicated contribution to a local non-profit organization and making Makana Lā Solar available for educational tours run by the non-profit and escorted by Clearway operations team personnel.

Lower Costs & Reliable Power

  • Providing a fixed price of power for 20 years contributing to reduced rate volatility.
  • The price per kWh offered by the project is lower than Hawaiian Electric’s avoided cost of generating electricity via fossil fuels or its current energy mix, which will result in lower ratepayer bills over time.
  • Providing clean power to the O‘ahu grid at half the price of fossil fuels.
  • Providing battery energy storage that provides resiliency to the grid and allows the projects to continue providing solar energy to the grid after the sun goes down when loads peak.

Project Site Maps

Click to enlarge images
Proposed Host Community
Clearway Palehua Host Community

Environmental Compliance and Permitting Plan

Siting Plans

Makana Lā Solar has been designed with careful consideration of the permitting requirements related to the land use of the project site, as well as the potential environmental, biological, archaeological, cultural and aesthetic impacts of the Project. The project site is well-studied due to extensive investigation for prior proposed wind farms (by Hawaiian Electric, Sempra, and Eurus) and as such the current conceptual design is well informed, yet adaptable to community input. The site plan takes into account the information gathered from these extensive prior studies on biological and archaeological features of the area, as well as grading, drainage, hydrology, erosion control, civil costs, utilities, access, and lot coverage.

The Project is within the State Land Use Agricultural District (85%) and Urban (15%), with Agricultural lands classified by the Land Study Bureau’s Detailed Classification System as Class D and E soils (low productivity). Per HRS §205-2(d)(6), solar projects are permitted on Class D and E soils. No Special Use Permit (SUP) is required by the State Land Use Commission.  The land is currently used for limited grazing and ranching that cause substantial erosion impacts, which impacts will be largely mitigated by the proposed Project's included erosion control measures, drainage mitigations, and permitted stormwater management features.

Located in the ʻEwa area, the Project is zoned by the City and County as a combination of zones AG-2 and A1, with solar as a Utility Type B installation requiring a Conditional Use Permit Minor. This is a relatively straight-forward land use approval which Clearway is familiar with securing for five similar scale and scope projects on O‘ahu previously. The project will also need a Zoning Waiver Permit, which is required for exceeding Land Use Ordinance development standards established for the Agricultural District, which is typical of these Utility Type B uses, and also a permit that Clearway has secured for all five of its prior projects.

The upgrades to Kahe Substation (COIF) are expected to be considered as appurtenances to the existing development within the Special Management Area (SMA) under City ROH Chapter 25 Special Management Area, and as such would not trigger the need for an SMA minor or major permit.  

Our conceptual design reflects Clearway’s experience permitting utility-scale solar projects in Hawaiʻi, including incorporation of setbacks from key roadways and viewing areas to minimize visual impacts; setbacks from residential areas to ensure that construction noise and dust as well as construction and operations-related traffic does not impact our adjacent neighbors; setbacks from sensitive resources including biological and cultural resources; and siting in close proximity to transmission infrastructure with available Hosting Capacity. In addition, we will incorporate best design practices from our operating solar projects (Mililani I and II, Kawailoa, Wapio and Waiawa) as we further refine our project design.

As with our other projects, Clearway will actively engage with community stakeholders, including the nearby community and neighborhood boards, per the Makana Lā Solar Community Outreach Plan, to solicit feedback on our site and design and provide project information through open house meetings and informal updates at regularly scheduled district meetings. In doing so, we will proactively answer questions from the community to ensure a streamlined agency review process.


The Project site was previously proposed for development as a wind farm (Hawaiian Electric, Sempra and Eurus), as well as the focus of ecological preservation and restoration goals. As a result, the area is well studied, and sensitive biological areas have been identified and protected by Olson Trust via a Conservation Easement created by the land partners. We are conducting reforestation efforts on our conservation lands, exploring alternative ag uses on our ag lands, and pursuing soil restoration in both zones. The areas of the proposed Makana Lā Solar Project were deemed unsuitable or less suitable for these uses after extensive studies and surveys.  The areas are currently used for limited grazing and ranching, which has caused erosion issues, with solar development being a preferred use.

Clearway will scope and facilitate technical investigations of the site and the surrounding lands to address the potential for archaeological and cultural resources, and sensitive flora/fauna resources potentially affected by the Project. A construction traffic assessment will also be commissioned, along with a solar glint/glare study and landscape plan. These studies will be prepared by locally-respected experts, and are required to support the CUP and Zoning Waiver Permit application. Clearway has already commenced studies as required to facilitate timely land use permitting, and will continue to do so through Final Award, in line with timelines demonstrated on our projects schedule (Section 2.14.1).

Archaeological and Cultural Resources

An Assessment of the Archaeological Potential of the Proposed Kahe Wind and Solar Farm was produced by Pacific Legacy, Inc. for Sempra in November 2011. Tetra Tech and Pacific Legacy, Inc. completed a subsequent archaeological inspection of three potential wind turbine sites within the proposed Pālehua Wind Farm (PWF) (TMK: [1] 9-2-045: 002), in August 2017. Prior to these, a thorough archaeological literature review and field inspection was conducted on 809 acres of Kahe Ranch Land in 2008 (Tulchin and Hammatt 2008).

Additionally, maps showing features summarized from literature review of all these prior assessments have been utilized in determining the footprint of the Project. Given the regulatory environment, it is likely that the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) will require that an updated Archaeological Inventory Survey (AIS) be prepared in accordance with Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules (HAR) §13-284, conducted in conjunction with any Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 6E action associated with the proposed solar development. The archaeological sites identified during the field inspection are well known and the proposed solar project has been designed to avoid impacting any identified historic properties. Since existing roads will be utilized, AIS-level documentation will likely be required for the bridge, historic roads, culvert, and the asphalt remnants. To the extent new features are identified, these features will be identified for SHPD in the updated AIS specific to the Makana Lā Solar project. Recommendations for preservation will be collaboratively developed with SHPD in the Preservation Plan for the Project, with these preservations requirements carefully implemented.

To our knowledge there is no element of the proposed solar project that triggers compliance with HRS Chapter 343, and therefore preparation of a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) will not be required. However, ASM Affiliates are also contracted to provide a follow-on Ka Pa’akai Cultural Survey to review cultural resources in addition to the prior outreach with Native Hawaiians related to these lands.

Biological Resources

A Biological Inventory Report for Honouliuli Preserve was prepared in April 1993, but largely describes the presence of species in the summit areas north of the proposed Makana Lā Solar Project. A Critical Issues Analysis was performed by Tetratech in 2012 and similarly found that detections of protected species were located in the higher elevations than the proposed Project.  

Clearway will similarly perform a flora/fauna survey and jurisdictional waters survey for the project leading up to Final Award. The flora/fauna survey will identify the potential for sensitive habitat conditions at the existing site and areas surrounding the proposed Project site. The study will address the potential impacts of the solar farm project on flora/fauna resources in the short and long-term, including potential effects to endangered or threatened species. A plan to mitigate such impacts will also be provided. Due to the historical cultivation of these lands, and non-significant findings of recent surveys of the adjoining lands, there is low expectation of encountering significant habitat resources or project impacts. However, if Endangered Species Act (ESA) species are found to be present in the project area, a biological evaluation and supporting documentation will be prepared to reach a “Not Likely to Adversely Affect” (NLAA) determination and consultation meetings with applicable federal and state agencies will be coordinated.

The survey will also assess gulches (approximately 10) on the site and determine if they are considered jurisdictional under the applicable definition of waters of the U.S. A request to USACE for concurrence of the jurisdictional determination will also be coordinated. A jurisdictional limits delineation will be conducted at a later stage if the project’s final design requires a Clean Water Act Permit.

Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation

Wildfires have long been a concern in Hawai‘i, as in many parts of the nation, but since August 8, 2023 --when a rapid and devastating wildfire destroyed Lahaina, Maui -- wildfire mitigation has risen to the top environmental and ecological concern for many.

The dry, uncultivated mountains above O'ahu’s Leeward shoreline have long been susceptible to wildfires. From the start of planning for the  Makana Lā project, Clearway has taken wildfire mitigation carefully into account, working with landowners, the Honolulu Fire Department and City and County of Honolulu to ensure the project can help prevent wildfires, slow their spread if they happen and extinguish them as quickly as possible.

We are also applying guidance from the experts of the Hawai'i Wildfire Management Organization ( to ensure we are using best practices for wildfire safety of the proposed solar facility, located in the Pālehua area of the Wai`anae Mountains.

In discussing wildfire prevention, the Hawai'i Wildfire Management Organization suggests: “Create multi-purpose buffers that protect developments along Wildland-Urban Interface(WUI) boundaries. These can include greenspaces, solar farms, gardens, parks, etc., that help a community achieve multiple goals simultaneously.”

A solar facility creates a fire break of open space with managed vegetation that can slow the spread of wildfires. Our facility’s roads and open corridors can provide access for firefighters and other emergency responders. Our solar facility may also use remote monitoring with cameras and other surveillance systems, which could provide advance warning of danger. 

We are also looking at ways to create green firebreaks using native plants to prevent fast-moving wildfires. We plan to work closely with local nonprofits to use native species to plant green firebreaks around and within the solar facility.

Wildfire mitigation is part of our community responsibility and something we take very seriously. We owe it to our neighbors in the Leeward area and all the people of ‘Oahu. We have wildfire prevention plans for each of the facilities that we operate on ‘Oahu (Mililani, Mililani II, Waipi‘o, and Waiawa) and hope to add more clean, low-cost energy projects across the state.

List of Regulatory and Permit Approvals

The following are the required permits for the Makana Lā Solar Project. Clearway anticipates designing the project to avoid impacts to waters under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and implementing best management practices during construction and operation to avoid adverse impacts to State and Federally protected species. Clearway will consult with the appropriate state and federal agencies. However no formal approvals are anticipated to be required from USACE, USFWS, Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).


Permit Name: A Notice of General Permit Coverage (NGPC) for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Federal, State or Local agencies and authorities having jurisdiction over the issuance: State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health

State Land Use

Permit name: State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) Approval

Federal, State or Local agencies and authorities having jurisdiction over the issuance: State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD)

County Land Use

Permit name: Special Management Area (SMA) Use Permit

Federal, State or Local agencies and authorities having jurisdiction over the issuance: City and County of Honolulu

Permit name: Conditional Use Permit Minor (CUPminor) and Zoning Waiver Permit

Federal, State or Local agencies and authorities having jurisdiction over the issuance: City and County of Honolulu

County Building and Grading Permits

Permit Name: Building and Grading Permits (PV/BESS, Substation, OH line, and COIF including Kahe Substation)

Federal, State or Local agencies and authorities having jurisdiction over the issuance: Honolulu City and County

Major Events & Milestones

Makana Lā Project Timeline

Review the key milestones in this project's development process. For the complete timeline, view our detailed PDF here.


July: Shortlisted

December: Final Award


January - December:  Design & Engineering

September: Submit Permitting Applications (CUP)

December: Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Executed


Permit Approvals

2026 - 2027

October '26 — September '27: Construction

December 1, 2027: Commercial Operations





Project Technical Details

Owner: Clearway Energy Group
Proposed Facility Location:

Farrington Highway, Makaiwa Hills

TMK(s) of Facility Location:

TMK (1) 9-2-049:013 (Gill ʻEwa Lands LLC)
TMK (1) 9-2-045:007 and (1) 9-2-050:008 (Olson/ Pālehua Partners Joint Venture LLC)
TMK (1) 9-2-050:003 (Campbell/Makaiwa Hills LLC)
Easement over Hawaiian Electric property not required over TMK: (1) 9-2-049:006
Easement over City and County of Honolulu will be required over TMK: (1) 9-2-050:006

Point of Interconnection’s Circuit:

Kahe Substation, new 138kV

Tangible Emissions Impact

This 80MW Solar Project Would Replace Fossil Fuels Equivalent to

Pounds of coal burned
Barrels of oil consumed
Miles driven by average gas-powered passenger vehicle
Gallons of gasoline consumed
Over the 20 year PPA term of this project. Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator | US EPA

Tell us what you think

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Makana Lā location