EnSync Energy Systems and Holu Energy this week began work on a combined solar energy distribution generation and advanced energy management system project at the University of the Nations in Hawaii.
The release says that the system will feature a 412 KW solar photovoltaic unit, EnSync’s intelligent energy management platform and hybrid energy storage technology. The project will lower the school’s electricity costs and facilitate the savings outlined in a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that was announced on July 7.
The project also will provide backup power to the university and ease pressure on the grid. Kama’aina Solar Solutions is providing engineering, design and installation services.
Energy undoubtedly is a big issue in Hawaii. On one hand, it’s isolated and importing fuel is expensive. On the other, there are plenty of sun, wind and hydro-power opportunities. Pacific News reported earlier this month that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission closed a net energy metering (NEM) program to new customers, while creating new options for inteconnection to the grid.
The NEM program allows customers with rooftop solar panels to be credited with the full retail value of the power they generate. At the same time, they can shift operational costs to full-service utility customers and continue to use the grid infrastructure to traffic the energy. The story says that the cost of the program to the Hawaiian Electric Co. and two subsidiaries was $38.5 million — about 1.3 percent of the collected rates — in 2013.