Kaua‘i Community College dedicates PV system
PUHI — Officials from the Kaua‘i Community College, Kaua‘i county government and the state gathered Monday morning to bless and dedicate the solar system on the Puhi campus.
The blessing by Kahu Wayne Vidinha of Ke Akua Mana Church marked the end of a seven-year period since the initial groundbreaking under then-college chancellor Helen Cox.
The length of time taken from the groundbreaking in 2019 until the blessing included the lengthy red tape process for permitting, supply chain issues, huge increases in material costs, and the impact of the COVID-19 on the construction industry.
Chancellor Joseph Daisy, on the eve of his announced retirement at the end of December, headed the blessing ceremony for the solar system that was built by Greenpath Technologies for about $2 million. Daisy also reinforced the announcement of Margaret Sanchez, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, as the interim chancellor effective Jan. 3, 2023.
“We were made aware of the college’s plans in 2015,” said Hawai‘i Senate President Ron Kouchi. “We were able to secure $2 million for the project, and seven years later, we are celebrating the cost savings of this investment. At the time we worked for the funding, electricity costs were 40 cents a kilowatt hour. The savings created from the solar system are funds that go back to the college for the benefit of its students.”
A spectator at the blessing said the college enjoys about a 40 percent reduction in its electrical costs because of the photovoltaic system, or approximately $20,000 a month reduction in its electric bill.
The system that was dedicated Monday includes 1,434 panels that generates 537 kilowatts Direct Current that translates to approximately 500 kilowatt hours under ideal weather conditions similar to Monday where the sun bathed the solar panel farm built by Greenpath Technologies.
Kouchi noted the system was not complete because the Kaua‘i Community College system lacks battery storage, and the rapidly-changing photovoltaic technology means there will be a need to upgrade the system to maximize the savings generated by the sun.