2013 Pathways to Sustainability
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Taking the initiative towards sustainability will save your company money. The companies featured in this section are at the forefront of their industry, providing innovative solutions that result in short-term and long-term cost savings. This guide helps you plan a path to better corporate practices that benefit your company and the community.
Solar Progress: Bright as the Sun
To reach a clean energy future and reduce electricity costs, we must tap all of Hawaii’s diverse renewable resources. This includes energy from wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, waste-to-energy, hydro, geothermal and, in the future, the ocean around us. Cleaner and cheaper liquefied natural gas will play a part as well.
In the last two years, Hawaii has seen great progress with new wind, waste-to-energy, biofuel and geothermal projects. The most notable success has been in the growth of solar energy.
Oahu’s largest solar project, the five-megawatt Kalaeloa Solar Farm went into service in December 2012. It is on 36 acres owned by the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which will use lease payments to help Native Hawaiians. Kalaeloa’ s SunPower T0 Tracker® panel system moves with the sun, capturing 25 percent more power than fixed solar systems. The kilowatt-hour price is lower than oil-fired electricity and lower than most other renewables now in use.
With nearly 100 MW of new solar installed across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island last year, Hawaii gets a larger share of electricity from the sun than any other state. It remains among the top three states in solar watts per person.
Working with the electric utilities, Hawaii’s blossoming solar industry added over 12,200 rooftop systems in Hawaiian Electric’s service territories in 2012, exceeding growth in the previous 10 years combined.
To address this growth, Hawaiian Electric has developed a new approach to speed the process for solar developers to learn where they can easily add more distributed generation. The utilities will model all electric grids to determine in advance the available capacity of each neighborhood circuit.
The environmental advocacy group, EarthJustice, and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, another national advocacy group which collects national PV data for the federal government, praised Hawaiian Electric for “vastly improved process and technical screens for interconnecting PV.” Also, the Solar Energy Industries Association rated Hawaii seventh in the nation in total solar watts installed in 2012. Vote Solar, another national advocacy group, also named the utility a “solar champion” in March 2013. All of this is bright news indeed.
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