Hawaii Organizations Save with New PPA Program

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Eugene Kaspersky

Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, a nonprofit focusing on the arts and crafts of Polynesia, will install a set of photovoltaic and inverter systems totaling 413 kilowatts (kw), with flexibility to install additional systems and features, via a PPA with EnSync Energy Systems.

The agreement marks the first commercial on-bill financing project in Hawaii using the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority’s recently launched Green Energy Money $aver (GEM$) On-Bill program. The GEM$ program will lead to significant energy cost savings for the Polynesian Cultural Center and, potentially, to other nonprofits in the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ Service territories, according to the Authority.

The Polynesian Cultural Center generates a significant energy demand on the grid; to meet the high energy demand, EnSyn Energy is installing solar arrays on three different buildings on the grounds. The project will reduce the facility’s kWh rate, bringing an estimated savings of $43,000 in the first year alone.

The Kohala Village HUB, a community-based organization for North Kohala residents in Hawaii, is also making use of a PPA with EnSync Energy Systems. The HUB will install a 60-kw PV system and a 37-kWh lithium-ion residential energy storage system; the design of the project will allow the site’s batteries to be charged entirely through onsite solar energy.

The 20-year PPAs make use of public and private capital to finance new clean energy projects, allowing ratepayers to pay a fixed amount on their utility bill out of the overall cost savings enjoyed as a result of the new energy efficiency and/or solar installations.

PPAs offered by EnSync Energy typically involve solar generation, and often include battery storage to further the value and capability of solar PV. EnSnyc Energy arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of the distributed generation/storage system on a customer’s property at little to no cost to site host. This lower electricity price serves to offset the customer’s purchase of electricity from the grid while the PPA owner receives the income from these sales of electricity, as well as any tax credits and other incentives generated from the system.

“Under a PPA, the customer enjoys lower-priced renewable energy, but is free from the responsibility to operate and mainten the system for the term of the agreement as the third-party system owner takes care of those tasks,” says EnSync Energy. “At the end of the term of the PPA, the customer may be able to purchase the system, extend the PPA or have the system removed by the PPA owner.” With a PPA, the third-party system owner is responsible for system performance and operating risk.

Hawaii had the highest electricity prices in the nation in 2016, and was the first state to set a legal deadline for producing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, a target it plans to achieve by 2045.

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