Solar Projects Shine in Hawaii

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Tesla Solar Installation on Kauai (Credit Tesla)

I have recently read a number of articles about solar projects, under construction and being completed in the Hawaiian Islands. The island that has been getting a lot of press recently is Kauai. Also known as the Garden Isle; this island is especially beautiful and suited to travellers that are wanting a unique experience off the tourist track. There is only one main road that skirts the island, leaving a large gap on the north west side. This means you have to retrace your steps to get back to the south side of the island rather than driving in a full circle. It certainly is a beautiful place with pristine beaches, coastal forests and a rich cultural history.

Unfortunately, Kauai has a dirty little secret. Its power source. Up until 2009, approx. 90% of Kauai was powered by oil burning power plants. This source of power generation is not unique to Kauai, oil has been a source of energy in Hawaii for decades, with significant cost impacts to the environment, and public health.

In the last 10 years, power generation in Kauai (and greater Hawaii) has undergone a radical change with the introduction of renewable energy projects that contribute and support the electrical grid. In fact, not only Kauai but all of the Hawaiian Islands have introduced renewable energy projects, cleaning up their grids, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and ultimately improving local air quality.

In my research I stumbled across this great web link (listed below) that provides a visual representation and web links to all of the completed/under construction and proposed projects.

More recently, projects have demonstrated incredible scale. Recently AES Corporation brought their solar project online with 28-MW solar PV and 100-MWh five-hour duration energy storage. The onsite storage provides peak shaving, reducing the need for more generators to come online to deal with peak load situations.     

Projects like these are excellent testing grounds for cutting edge photovoltaic cells and new generation batteries capable of providing energy storage in hot, humid and seismically sensitive environments. The tech developed and tested in these installations provides the a massive amount of data, developing products with greater longevity, lower cost of manufacturing with the goal of maximized power output.

Solar in Pacific Northwest

Locally, the viability of solar is not fully understood by the general public. People assume that Vancouver or the Pacific Northwest would be an unsuitable climate for residential or commercial solar generation. The fact is that many solar projects are successfully generating electricity at all times of the year, in a variety of weather conditions. Its obvious that summer months are when we would see the most power generated from the system,

The City of New Westminster recently installed their first Solar Garden project on the roof of the Queensborough Community Center. This is a 50kWh solar array that is essentially crowd funded. The project description is as follows:

City of New Westminster “This City-led renewable energy project provides an opportunity for interested local residents, businesses and non-profit organizations to voluntarily subscribe to a portion of the total electricity generated by the array. The solar power generated is credited back to each subscriber’s electrical utility bill twice per year, in proportion to the number of panels they have reserved, for up to 25 years.”

Learn more about this interesting project at the following link The system has a real-time dashboard that shows the energy produced by the system. The results are quite impressive given the variability of weather and cloud cover we are currently experiencing.

Interested in Solar?

If you are interested in accessing the benefits of solar for your home or business. Cielo Electric Ltd. can manage your installation process from start to finish. Our team of specialists are registered CSA Solar Photovoltaic NOC-7241 technicians.

We can offer the following project management services:

  • Solar Viability Assessments and Consulting
  • Solar Installations with Grid Tie to BC Hydro
  • Battery backup systems

For more information please Contact Cielo Electric Ltd.

Phone: (778) 862 4109 – Email: sukhdeep@cieloelectric.ca – Web: www.cieloelectric.ca

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