October 09, 2013 | 07:07 PMAnyone driving by that new fortress on a hill otherwise known as the "New Kihei Police Station" will see two things pretty much immediately. First, that it truly does look like a fortress on a hill, and second, that it has a great deal of roof area that seems to be just sitting in the hot South Maui sun with nothing to do. Well, it looks like that roof–and many more in the county–will soon get covered over with shiny new photovoltaic panels.
"The County of Maui announced today that a group of companies led by Hawaii Pacific Solar LLC of Lahaina, Hawaii ('Hawaii Pacific') submitted the highest scoring Proposal in response to Request For Proposals (RFP)# 12-13/P-103," stated an Oct. 1 news release from the county. "The County intends to award the contract to Hawaii Pacific to install more PV panels on community facilities."
According to the news release, Hawaii Pacific will install panels on 18 county facilities on Maui and Molokai. Five of those facilities will also get "microgrids"–a system that's still connected to Maui Electric Co.'s grid but can run on its own in the event of a black-out. Doing all this will both save money and show off the county's commitment to clean, renewable energy, states the news release.
"We will save taxpayer dollars because our starting price is lower than the MECO rate," said Mayor Alan Arakawa in the press release. "But just as important is the fact that the County demonstrate to the community how renewable energy can be used in ways that traditional fossil sources cannot."
The project will also apparently provide some measure of price stability for the county.
"Our first block of renewable energy was purchased using prices that rise by 2.5 percent annually," said Doug McLeod, Maui County Energy Commissioner, in the press release. "Combining a block of power with inclining prices with a similarly sized block of power with declining prices creates a financial hedge. The County can be sure that for 20 years it will not face rising prices for the solar power it purchases."
The Maui County facilities slated to get PV panels include the following:
• Napili Fire Station
• New Kihei Police Station
• Wailuku Police Station
• Iao Water Treatment Plant (Wailuku)
• Kula Fire Station
• MFD Fire Prevention Bureau (Wailuku)
• MPD Forensic Facility (Wailuku)
• Tavares Community Center (Pukalani)
• Kula Ag Park water pumping station
• South Maui Community Park (Kihei)
• War Memorial Complex
• Lahaina Aquatic Center
• Haiku Community Center
• Paia Community Center (and adjacent wastewater pumping station)
• Kaunakakai Fire Station
• Hoolehua Fire Station
• Mitchell Pau'ole Center
• Wastewater treatment facility and pumping station
For more information, visit Mauicounty.gov/energy.
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