Hawaii college aims to be nation's first with battery-powered renewable energy
The University of Hawai'i plans for its Maui College campus to soon be among the first in the nation to generate 100 percent of its energy from on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems coupled with battery storage.
The project is part of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current that will also allow four UH community college campuses on O'ahu to significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption, according to a release.
UH Maui College's new PV plus storage system will be capable of eliminating the campus' fossil fuel-based energy use when it is operational in 2019. On O'ahu, through the combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures, Leeward Community College, Honolulu Community College, Kapi'olani Community College and Windward Community College will reduce their use of fossil fuel for energy by 98 percent, 97 percent, 74 percent and 70 percent, respectively.
In 2015, Hawai'i became the first state in the country to make an unprecedented commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Concurrently, UH and the Hawai'i Legislature established a collective goal for the university system to be net-zero by Jan. 1, 2035, meaning the system would produce as much renewable energy as it consumes across its campuses.
Of the 10 campuses, UH Maui College is on target to be the first to supply 100 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy.
The partnership between UH, Johnson Controls and Pacific Current is the second phase of a multi-year energy efficiency and renewable energy project. In phase one, energy efficiency measures were successfully implemented at UH Maui College and the O'ahu community college campuses.
Phase two includes additional energy efficiency upgrades and the installation of on-site solar PV coupled with battery storage, allowing the five campuses to use the renewable generated energy as needed. The PV plus storage systems will be developed by Johnson Controls and owned by Hawai'i-based Pacific Current. The energy efficiency upgrades will also reduce the deferred maintenance backlog at these campuses by approximately $20 million.
Energy and infrastructure improvements at the five UH campuses involved in the project are scheduled to be completed by the second quarter of 2019.
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