Hawaiian university gets solar makeover

The Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Hawaii has contracted SolarCity to provide it with solar electricity for the next 20 years.

The institute, located on Coconut Island - made famous by 1960’s television program ‘Gilligan’s Island’ -
has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with SolarCity – which will see it generate renewable energy at a discount. Solar PPA’s are popular on Hawaii because of the island’s abundant supply of sunshine, though whether this success can continue without important Federal and State incentives is another matter.

SolarCity has already begun to install panels on the rooftops of the institute’s buildings and the array will generate a total capacity of around 260kW when completed, providing a significant portion of the Institute’s energy requirements. The new project is part of the University’s attempt to generate at least 25% of its campus-wide energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

Jon Yoshimura, the director of government affairs at SolarCity, said “The University of Hawaii is setting an example for other educational institutions by taking a forward-thinking approach to its energy needs while shifting the school to homegrown solar electricity.”

SolarCity’s Hawaii office is located in Mililani.

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity