Maui’s economic opportunity is good for solar photovoltaic firms right now. The county is seeking such firms to install, operate, maintain and own solar PV systems, according to Doug McLeod, our energy commissioner. Under a power purchase agreement, the participating firms would sell the energy generated to the county so as to lower our energy costs.
In general, economic opportunity is welcome, but this situation is special because it makes the cost of living on Maui cheaper, which will appeal to those who want to buy a home on Maui and earn a living here, or retire.
Hawaii’s isolation is a major driver in its dedication to develop renewable energy sources. Our wind farms are one such source, and why not take full advantage of the tropical sun that shines so brightly here? We are situated closer to the equator than any other state in the U.S., and while it means we have to be diligent with our sunscreen, it also means that as PV technology becomes more and more efficient, our location will be advantageous enough to neutralize the difficulties associated with a level of geographic isolation that is second to none on Earth.
According to the commissioner, the size of the project isn’t clear yet, but they are aiming for 1-megwatt of solar energy, for now. In their RFPs (request for proposals), they highlighted 15 sites, some of which are made up of more than one building, and also include rooftop, ground mount and carport PV spaces. As an added benefit, private investors will pay for the systems, meaning there will be no upfront cost to the county.
We hope to see continual reduction in Maui’s cost of living via clean energy development in the future. We hope you’ve found this blog informative. Mahalo!
RealEstateMauiHawaii.com – By Mark Harbison