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Kamehameha Schools Maui held a blessing on January 19 to consecrate the microgrid, which will provide clean, locally generated electricity to power our 180-acre campus.

One of the Largest Renewable Energy Microgrids on Maui Is Right Here on Campus

Jan. 19, 2023

In its first year of operation, Kamehameha Schools Maui’s new clean energy microgrid will generate some 1,700 megawatts of power, equivalent to taking 250 cars off the road.

In an innovative step for our ʻAʻapueo campus, we’ve been working since 2021 with energy services company Apparent, Inc., to install an integrated system of photovoltaics and battery storage. The microgrid is one of the largest private installations in Maui County.

Over the next 20 years, the project is expected to reduce reliance on fossil fuels to the tune of $5.8 million.

“Kamehameha Schools Maui’s effort 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, who led our move in this direction.

This project demonstrates our commitment to use our resources wisely and care for the ‘āīna, Mynar said. “As a Native Hawaiian school, it is our kuleana to mālama honua and be good stewards of Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi’s trust and legacy.”

The microgrid consists of 5,350 solar panels located in two areas — one near Kalanikūpule classroom building on the Māhele Luna campus, and another much-large site overlooking the Māhele Lalo 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 Maui Electric Co. 

“Obviously this system will provide us with substantial savings in energy,” Mynar says. “But it will also protect our natural resources. Having these PV sites is going to create a clean, green energy source that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.”

As work ramped up on the solar sites last school year, buzz among staff, kumu and haumāna grew, Mynar said. There are potentials here for kumu to use these sites for learning, especially given the real-time data we’ll have on energy usage.

One potential, Mynar said, is for haumāna to use the advanced monitoring functions of the system to see energy usage by building or peak times.

“It’s entirely possible that haumāna can run energy efficiency experiments as part of the work they’re doing in ʻāina and sustainability,” he said.

The microgrid project was spearheaded by teams from KS Maui, KS’ Strategy and Transformation Group, Apparent, Inc., and Maui County.

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