Hawaii Schools Go Solar for Savings

Solar PV and energy storage-powered air conditioning has been installed in schools on Hawaii’s island of O’ahu.

Officials at Waialua High and Intermediate school partnered with SimpliPhi Power, Ameresco Solar and Haleakala Solar for the project.

“We designed a modular cabinet and energy production system housing power generation and storage technologies to be located right next to the electrical load, with one to two classrooms running off one cabinet,” said Richard Dean, senior account executive for Ameresco Solar. “This is a major cost advantage over a centralized system, as is the power system’s ability to expand as future energy needs change.”

Each cabinet is built to house seven or 10 SimpliPhi PHI 3.4kWh batteries as part of a hybrid, solar powered off-grid system for two- or four-ton air conditioners, respectively. Ameresco designed the systems to hold up to 16 batteries to streamline future expansion.

These schools’ solar+storage classroom solutions:

  • Utilize SimpliPhi Power’s lithium ferrous phosphate batteries because they are not prone to fire and won’t spontaneously combust, like other cobalt-based lithium batteries
  • Has the ability to expand as future needs change by simply adding more batteries, without having to duplicate other aspects
  • Are cheaper than on-grid power

Other school districts are initiating similar energy efficient projects. Just last week, Schneider Electric announced it embarked on a comprehensive energy efficiency project with the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (NLMUSD) in Los Angeles County, California. The project will save the district nearly $170,000 annually, improve the learning environment for students and advance the district’s mission of providing safe, comfortable schools. This project leverages funding secured through the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39), which allows school districts to tackle critical deferred maintenance projects that result in energy savings.

Earlier this month, Monroe County School System in Monroeville, Alabama, announced it would be taking on a modernization project that is expected to generate $6.2 million in energy and operational savings, reducing the district’s annual utility budget by 32%.

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