Maui News

VIDEO: MACC Goes Green With Solar Installation

December 15, 2011, 11:46 AM HST
* Updated December 15, 12:16 PM
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By Wendy Osher

[flashvideo file= /] Governor Neil Abercrombie joined other dignitaries in a dedication ceremony for a solar installation project at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Wednesday.

“I know for a fact that.. alternative energy is here today; alternative energy is expanding; alternative energy is in fact Hawaii’s energy future,” said Governor Abercrombie.

The project is located on a strip of undeveloped land mauka of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and bordering the Keopuolani Park in Kahului.

Jon Yoshimura, Director of Government Affairs, Solar City; Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa; Council Member Michael Victorino; Governor Neil Abercrombie; Council Member Don Couch; Art Vento, President & CEO, Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“As a non-profit, it’s essential to constantly find ways to reduce overhead in order to maintain our ability to provide maximum products and services delivered to the community,” said MACC President and CEO, Art Vento.


With over 1,700 events per year, and over 250,000 people coming through the MACC’s front gates, Vento said, “It’s become essential to look at every opportunity available to minimize our costs, and in this case, create our own opportunity.”

Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt participated in the blessing ceremony at the MACC's new solar project located near the border of Keopuolani Park in Kahului. Photo by Wendy Osher.


The solar project is made up of an estimated 2,000 panels that can offset electrical use by generating nearly 500 kilowatts of electricity.

The installation is one of the largest to date on Maui and is expected to reduce 26 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the system, according to project officials.

“The MACC is an oasis of arts and entertainment; it’s a focal point for Maui’s lively arts community.  Now, it’s also an example of Maui County’s leadership role in the movement towards a green economy and homegrown clean energy,” said Jon Yoshimura, Director of Governmental Affairs at Solar City, the company that installed the system.

MACC Solar panel project. Photo by Wendy Osher.


The MACC installation is the first major commercial project completed by the company in the state, in partnership with Honolulu Builders, LLC.  The system is also interconnected with Maui Electric Company.

SolarCity installed the system at no cost to the MACC, and the MACC in turn, will pay for the solar power the panels produce at a rate lower than current electricity costs.

“One of the goals we have to meet is to try and change our economic situation so that we don’t spend so much money to import fuel, and to have an unreliable economic basis where the prices for everything keeps fluctuating at the whim of foreign countries and the oil producers,” said Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Kumu Hula Hokulani Holt. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“For us to be able to have a stable community, we need to be able to develop ways in which to stop the flood of money from leaving the state and our county.  The alternative energies meets those particular requirements right on,” said Mayor Arakawa.

The project is one in a list of clean energy initiatives making headlines this week including: news of a Power Purchase Agreement to install photovoltaic panels at 15 schools on Kauai; the first commercial delivery of a 100% electric Mistubishi car in Hawaii this week; and a memorandum of understanding with Japan to provide a test-bed for electric vehicles right here on Maui.

Dignitaries sign a solar panel as part of the ceremony. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“This dedication is an example, I think, of the central role that Maui will be playing,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie.  He made a pledge during the ceremony, saying, “we will see to it that this administration cooperates with you in every way that we can to add that alternative energy future that’s represented by this project.”

MACC President, Art Vento (foreground); Governor Neil Abercrombie (middle); and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa (left, back), take turns writing messages on a solar panel. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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