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Hawaiian island grassroots organization designs two community solar + storage projects



Hawaiian Electrical and Ho’āhu Vitality Cooperative Molokai are transferring ahead with the primary two community-owned and designed photo voltaic + storage tasks. These tasks will meet over 20% of Molokai’s vitality wants and serve roughly 1,500 properties on the island. The Ho’āhu Neighborhood-Based mostly Renewable Vitality Tasks, Pālā’au Photo voltaic and Kualapu’u Photo voltaic, are the primary on the island to supply a shared photo voltaic program (often known as community-based renewable vitality or CBRE) to assist decrease the electrical energy payments for Molokai clients who can’t set up personal rooftop photo voltaic.

After finishing a aggressive bidding analysis course of, which accounted for the price of the tasks in addition to non-price elements together with neighborhood outreach, Ho’āhu and Hawaiian Electrical entered into negotiations. As soon as the 20-year contracts are negotiated, Hawaiian Electrical and Ho’āhu will submit two purposes for approval to the Public Utilities Fee.

Hoʻāhu Vitality Cooperative Molokai is a volunteer, grassroots nonprofit group shaped in 2020 by Molokai neighborhood advocates to allow island residents to design and personal renewable vitality tasks constructed on Molokai.

Dedicated to vitality democracy, Hoʻāhu has spent three years internet hosting greater than 40 public workshops for Molokai residents to co-design neighborhood photo voltaic tasks, from website discovering and subscriber profit design to contractor interviews and evaluation of assorted battery vitality storage techniques.

Pālā’au Photo voltaic can present as much as 2.2 MW of photo voltaic vitality mixed with a ten.1 megawatt-hour battery vitality storage system. The mission might be situated on property owned by Hawaiian Electrical, adjoining to the corporate’s Pālā’au Baseyard.

Kualapu’u Photo voltaic can present as much as 0.25 MW paired with a 1 MWh battery. The mission might be situated on the Kualapu’u Park and Neighborhood Middle with the mission’s photo voltaic array mounted on carport buildings above the prevailing parking zone.

“These two tasks are the proper factor to do for Hawai’i and our planet,” stated Todd Yamashita, president of Hoʻāhu. “It is going to present entry to renewables for individuals who want it most. Molokai renters are unnoticed and may’t set up photo voltaic panels. The photo voltaic neighborhood says, ‘Allow us to construct a photo voltaic farm for you on the farm, and the vitality we get and the revenue we get might be straight credited to your invoice and the invoice of different members of the cooperative in vitality.’

After the Ho’āhu tasks are accepted and obtainable on Hawaiian Electrical’s CBRE Portal, Molokai clients will change into subscribers to one of many services. As soon as the tasks are constructed and on-line, subscribers will obtain a credit score on their month-to-month electrical energy invoice primarily based on their stage of participation.

“We stay up for working additional with Ho’āhu Vitality Cooperative Molokai and their companions to carry these community-based shared photo voltaic tasks on-line,” stated Rebecca Dayhuff Matsushima, vice chairman of useful resource procurement for Hawaiian Electrical. “Each tasks will assist our Molokai clients scale back their vitality payments and additional scale back our carbon footprint in producing energy to fulfill the island’s vitality wants.”

In November 2021, the request for proposals opens for builders, firms, organizations or teams to change into “subscriber organizations” in shared photo voltaic tasks for Molokai clients. The 2 Molokai shared photo voltaic tasks are anticipated to be on-line by mid-2025.

“When Act 100 was handed in 2015 the intent was to make sure that the advantages of renewable vitality technology grew to become extra accessible to extra residents who is probably not straight concerned in renewable vitality manufacturing. The CBRE program did that and I proud that my dwelling neighborhood of Molokai has the chance to take part by way of the Hoʻāhu Vitality Cooperative,” stated Sen. Lynn DeCoite. “These tasks are promising steps towards a sustainable renewable vitality future island.”

Hoʻāhu enlisted the help of Shake Vitality Collaborative, a Honolulu-based, women-owned public profit company, to facilitate the design and improvement of community-led tasks. Hoʻāhu additionally chosen Maui-based profit company Mana Pacific to help the technical improvement of the tasks. Many contractors and companions additionally contributed to the cooperative’s success together with Kohala Middle, Morikawa and Associates, Shiny Future Consulting, Orrick, X Utility and Arizona State College.

Hoʻāhu’s neighborhood possession is made potential by way of the help of mission-aligned funding companions together with The Folks’s Photo voltaic Vitality Fund, Hawaii Inexperienced Infrastructure Authority, Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Ulupono Initiative, all of which supplied funds or letters of intent. within the mission.

Information from Hoʻāhu Vitality Cooperative Molokai

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