When Sinclair Library first opened 55 years ago it won an award for using trade winds as natural air conditioning.
Thursday, Governor Neil Abercrombie joined officials to throw the switch activating the library's new state of the art photovoltaic system.
It is part of the University's long-term goal to deploy renewable energy at the UH campus.
"We're taking the first step in changing the campus from an energy consumer to an energy generator," said Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.
The governor commended UH for its strategic vision for sustainability and conservation.
"We're here to acknowledge the fact that we are producing the effect we sought in terms of energy independence, right here, right now," said Abercrombie.
The project cost $217,000. Officials said it could save the university $16,000 per year in energy costs.
The solar panels were installed by Hoku Solar, a local company that got it's start at UH. The solar panels are raised to prevent shading and reduce heat to the library below.
Officials said the system will generate enough energy during its 25 year operating life to power 135 homes for a year.