March 19, 2018 | News Brief | The University of Hawai’i (UH) announced that its Maui College campus will 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.
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 January 1, 2035, meaning the system would produce as much renewable energy as it consumes across its campuses.
Of the ten 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 under energy performance contracts awarded to Johnson Controls in 2010. 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.
“With the implementation of phase two, these five UH campuses will have reduced fossil fuel energy consumption by ~14 GWh annually (45 percent) and added ~13 GWh renewable energy generation,” said UH Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton. “We are proud to move the entire University of Hawai’i System closer to its net-zero energy mandate, to celebrate UH Maui College’s achievement and to position the O’ahu community college campuses within reach of 100 percent renewable energy generation.”
Following the successful implementation of energy conservation measures across the campuses during phase one, phase two will bring the total on-site capacity to 2.8 MW of solar PV and 13.2 MWh of battery distributed energy storage at UH Maui College, and 7.7 MW of solar PV and 28.6 MWh of battery distributed energy storage to the UH Community Colleges O’ahu campuses.
Energy and infrastructure improvements at the five UH campuses involved in the project are scheduled to be completed by Q2 2019.