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Hawaiian Electric Co. Commercial Account Manager Michaellyn Burke, KS Executive Strategist Dora Nakafuji (S&T), KS Maui Director of Campus Operations Danny Mynar and local Apparent, Inc. representative Iris Peelua and others were on hand to celebrate the blessing of the renewable energy microgrids.

KS Maui launches renewable energy microgrid

Feb. 6, 2023

Kamehameha Schools Maui recently held a blessing for an innovative project that highlights KS’ commitment to sustainability and stewardship of our natural resources.

The ʻAʻapueo campus has been working with energy services company Apparent, Inc. since 2021 to install an integrated system of photovoltaics and battery storage. The microgrid, which is one of the largest private installations in Maui County, is expected to be fully operational following commissioning tests.

In its first year of operation, the new clean energy microgrid will generate some 1,700 megawatts of power. During the next 20 years, the project will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and save KS about $5.8 million in energy costs.

“Kamehameha Schools Maui’s efforts to reduce demand on the island’s electric grid while converting to a clean, local source of electricity will benefit our community,” said Danny Mynar, KS Maui’s director of campus operations. “As a Native Hawaiian school, it is our kuleana to mālama honua and be good stewards of Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi’s trust and legacy.”

The microgrid consists of 5,350 solar panels located in two areas – one on the Māhele Luna (Upper Division, Grades 6-12) campus, and a much larger site overlooking the Māhele Lalo (Lower Division, Grades K-5) campus. Combined, the solar sites are able to produce some 2.1 million kilowatt hours a year. The solar panels are paired with an energy storage system, allowing KS Maui to use a combination of campus-generated energy and electricity from Hawaiian Electric.

As Hawaiʻi’s largest private landholder, KS plays a pivotal role in supporting the state’s transition to clean energy. As of 2022, about forty percent of commercial renewable energy for the state is located on KS ʻāina. KS’ goal is to reduce energy use from KS operations by thirty percent by 2030 through energy conservation, efficiency and renewables.

KS Maui kumu will be able to use the new campus microgrid for learning, especially given the real-time data on energy usage that will be available. Haumāna could use the advanced monitoring functions of the system to see energy usage by building or peak times.

“We are excited to see this microgrid come online at Kamehameha Schools Maui, the first of our campuses to utilize this technology,” said KS Maui Poʻo Kula Dr. Scott Parker. “Through this project, our students can learn about smart grids, and our enterprise continues to demonstrate our commitment to energy transitions aligned with E Ola! and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals of the state and the rest of the world.”

Attendees were all smiles at the microgrid blessing. In its first year of operation, the new clean energy microgrid will generate some 1,700 megawatts of power.

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