18 Maui Facilities Included in Solar Rooftop Expansion

October 2, 2013, 7:56 AM HST · Updated October 2, 9:22 AM
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File Photo by Wendy Osher.

File Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Maui County announced it will award a “Multi-Facility Solar Rooftop Project” to Hawaiʻi Pacific Solar of Lahaina.

The contract is for the installation of more photovoltaic panels at 18 community facilities on Maui and Molokaʻi.

The list of facilities on the request for proposals reportedly include: fire stations in Nāpili, Kula, Kaunakakai, Hoʻolehua, and the Fire Prevention Bureau in Wailuku; the Wailuku and new Kīhei police stations, as well as the Wailuku forensic facility; community centers in Pukalani, Haʻikū, Pāʻia, and Molokaʻi; water treatment facilities at ʻĪao and Molokaʻi, and the pump station at Kula Ag Park; the South Maui Community Park in Kīhei; the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku; and the Lahaina Aquatic Center in West Maui.

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The project is the latest phase of the ongoing county solar rooftop PV project in which the winning bidder pays for the cost of installation and sells the power generated back to the county under a Power Purchase Agreement, according to county spokesperson Lois Whitney.

“We will save taxpayer dollars because our starting price is lower than the MECO rate,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa in a county-issued press release. “But just as important is the fact that the county demonstrate to the community how renewable energy can be used in ways that traditional fossil sources cannot.”

According to information released by the county, Hawaiʻi Pacific was the only bidder to offer declining pricing. Under the agreement, the county will reportedly pay 23.4 cents per kilowatt in the first year, with the price dropping 2.75% each year for 20 years to 13.8 cents per kWh in the 20th year.

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Up to five of the 18 facilities will also be equipped with microgrid PV systems that will allow the system to continue to operate even if the grid is down. The microgrids are reportedly being considered for the: Kaunakakai Fire Station, War Memorial Complex, Tavares Community Center, Lahaina Aquatic Center, and new Kīhei Police Station.

Officials say the county will pay declining prices on those systems as well, starting at 27.5 cents per kWh, and dropping to 16.2 cents per kWh.

To date, 21 facilities on Maui and Lānaʻi have reportedly been equipped with solar PV. Officials say the county is currently the largest generator of solar power on Maui, with installed systems that have a “present net value of more than $10 million in savings.”

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