The Hawaiian Electric Co. may be in line to receive $2.45 million dollars that they’ve promised to pass along to customers, but it is far from certain that they — and we — will ever see that money.

The power company announced in a Feb. 12 merger filing that they are terminating deals to buy energy from a trio of Oahu solar farms — Kawailoa, Milani II and Waikio — that SunEdison is supposed to complete.

Hawaiian Electric says it is due a substantial termination fee for “damage” the company is incurring because the 49-megawatt Kawailoa solar farm is not going into production, according to the company’s regulatory filing. The other two farms have no termination fee.

photovoltaic solar electric panels . HEI. 8 april 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Hawaii produces more solar per capita than any state in America, but the possible loss of three planned solar farms could slow expansion. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Kawailoa project, on 300 acres of land owned by Kamehameha Schools, was slated to begin construction in early 2016, with a planned completion date by the end of the year.

Hawaiian Electric said that it was bailing on the purchase power agreement partly over concerns about SunEdison’s grim financial straits, which could lead to further delays or prevent the company from ever completing the projects.

The three solar farms were supposed to bring 148 megawatts of renewable energy online. SunEdison has said this would boost Oahu’s solar capacity by about 30 percent.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that a representative of SunEdison said the company will fight the termination fee. The company is also looking for ways to complete all three projects.

SunEdison has hit on remarkably hard times, and they may get worse — putting its ability to pay its growing debts into question.

SunEdison is laying off staff, cutting production and selling assets, and it faces multiple big-dollar lawsuits., Its stock has fallen from more than $31.56 per share in July to about a buck and a half Thursday.

The downward trends could end up being a prelude to a Chapter 13 filing for a company that is — or was — the largest renewable energy development company in the world.

Read Hawaiian Electric’s regulatory filing here.

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