County to demand more of sun

The county will save thousands of dollars and cut its greenhouse gas emissions with a renewable energy project that is expected to start construction late this summer, officials said yesterday at the Historic County Building.

A contractor-owned and maintained photovoltaic system will be installed on the roof of the Pi‘ikoi Building, which houses various government agencies, to annually produce an estimated 117,990 kilowatt-hours, county Energy Coordinator Glenn Sato said.

Based on the May utility rate of 39 cents per kilowatt-hour, the county expects to save $23,179 each year, he said.

The county Office of Economic Development recently finalized a purchase power agreement.

The year-to-year contract is for a 20-year period. The county only pays for the power the system produces. The rate starts at 19.5 cents for the first year and then escalates 2 percent each subsequent year, Sato said.

After five years, the county can purchase the solar system.

Beyond the financial benefits, the system will annually prevent 160,957 pounds of carbon dioxide, 578 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 610 pounds of nitrous oxide.

Office of Economic Development Director Beth Tokioka said the system is considered a pilot project that the county can use to boost the energy efficiency of other government buildings.

The permit application for the project will be submitted later this month, Sato said.

“It’s a very impressive project,” Kaua‘i County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said. “There’s nice savings as well as lowering our carbon footprint.”

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