School solar project ready to resume

LIHUE — A photovoltaic project at Hanalei Elementary School is set to resume after a change in contractors forced a work delay.

The $112,000 project is scheduled to get back on track in two or three weeks, Donalyn Dela Cruz, spokeswoman for Hawaii State Department of Education, said. It should be completed in May.

The stoppage happened with around 60 percent already completed after the project leaders, National Energy Partners, changed contractors.

Dela Cruz referred questions about the change in contractors to NEA. NEA CEO Jeremy Connor didn’t return messages.

The project was part of a 2011 Power Purchase Agreement contract to install photovoltaic systems at 15 Kauai schools. Under the agreement, the PVs were to be completed at no cost to the state.

“There are no upfront costs to the DOE and NEP is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance over the 20 year PPA agreement,” Dela Cruz wrote in an email.

PPA is for $.1833 per kWh.

The DOE will save an estimated $30 million over the life of the projects, taking into account a projected 3 percent yearly increase in commercial electricity rates.

Seven of the 15 schools are completed: Kapaa middle; Kauai high, King Kaumualii elementary, Koloa elementary, Elsie H. Wilcox elementary, Eleele elementary and Kekaha elementary.

Based on current Kauai Island Utility Cooperative circuit capacity, the new 2.4 megawatt system will generate 4 million kilowatt hours of electrical power per year equal to 60 percent of the 6.6 million kilowatt hours used by Kauai DOE schools annually.

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