Hāna Students Install Solar Water Heating in 3 Homes

June 24, 2013, 10:17 AM HST · Updated June 24, 10:17 AM
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Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi Energy and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.

Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi Energy and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.

By Maui Now Staff

Three homes in East Maui had solar water heating systems installed under a partnership between the Hawaiʻi Energy initiative, and the non-profit Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke construction skills training program for at-risk youth, an announcement said.

“We are excited to be a part of this project, which not only facilitated the installation of solar water heating systems for in-need households in Hāna, but also provided an opportunity for the training of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike team members and students in the design, installation and maintenance of these systems,” said Ray Starling, Hawaiʻi Energy Program Director in a press release.

Under the partnership, students had the opportunity to earn hands-on experience in the energy efficiency and conservation field which included work alongside a licensed professional.

Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi Energy and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.

Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi Energy and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike.

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According to the announcement, students learned how to design a solar water heating system, order materials, mount solar panels and orient them for optimum performance. They also learned plumbing skills, including soldering, insulating and constructing to code.

“Through this mentorship approach to education, Hāna youth gained valuable and practical hands-on training,” said Starling.

“With Hāna being such a close-knit community, the three extended families that have benefited from these installations are now sharing with others about the application and financial savings from system installation,” said Rick Rutiz, Executive Director of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike in the press release.

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He continued saying, “Thanks to this wonderful project, Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike and Hawaii Energy staff have been able to teach Hāna area residents about rebates, tax incentives and return on investment for solar water heating systems. This is leading to heightened interest in energy efficiency in the remote East Maui region.”

Hawaiʻi Energy reportedly procured the systems through Inter-Island Solar Supply Maui; while Redo Trucking delivered them from the vendor to the respective job sites.

Officials with Hawaiʻi Energy say they are in the process of inspecting the systems to ensure that the installations conform to solar water heating system standards and specifications.

According to Hawaiʻi Energy estimates, a household of four or more can save up to 40% on their electric bill when they switch to a solar water heater.

Officials with Hawaiʻi Energy describe the program as a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program administered by SAIC under contract with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.  The program currently serves the islands of Hawaiʻi, Lanaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi and Oʻahu.

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