There's a move to make the sun start working for schools

Published On: Apr 13 2014 06:20:48 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 13 2014 07:12:11 PM HST

Honolulu ranks first in the installation of residential solar energy systems per capita. There's a move to make the sun start working for schools, as well.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

Solar panels are now common sights on homes across Hawaii, but pretty soon you can expect them over schools, too.

Jason Hardwick, co-founder of the local startup company Enersol, will design and engineer 33 photovoltaic systems for the Department of Education.

"We are installing about four megawatts of photovoltaic on top of schools across Hawaii on this phase (of the project)," said Hardwick.

Jefferson Elementary will have the largest system out of the nine on Oahu. Three buildings will go solar, totaling more than 600 panels. The savings to the state: Up to $150,000 a year.

"Hawaii being the way it is, we have very high electricity rate, so any time we can help reduce demand on foreign oil and carbon fuels, we can go to a sustainable future," said Hardwick.

The report also ranks Honolulu fifth in the nation for total solar capacity. Hardwick said it fits the growth of the steadily increasing solar industry.

"There's always issues when dealing with solar electricity grids we have to deal with, so for us to be fifth on the micro grid (I'm) excited for that," said Hardwick.

Some of those issues, Hardwick said, include regulations from HECO and other electric companies that could slow down the process of installing and permitting photovoltaic systems.

HECO said "We commend the Department of Education for its commitment to trying to meet more of its energy needs with clean energy sources. We have procedures in place so photovoltaic systems can be integrated into the electric system while ensuring safe, reliable service for all customers."

The solar panels at Jefferson Elementary will be installed in the next couple of months. 15 schools on Kauai will also get photovoltaic systems.


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