DISCUSSION: It should come as no surprise that Hawai’i offers an unmatched amount of total days with sun including partly sunny days. With an estimated 271 total days of sun (the sum of sunny plus partly sunny days) in Honolulu, 276 total days in Kahului, or even 240 in Lihue, optimal locations for prime solar action.
Even with partly sunny days, days with cloud covering from 40-70% of the sky during the daytime at least 181 of them can be seen in Honolulu, 184 in Lihue, 145 in Kahului and 132 in Hilo. With all of this radiation from the sun, what could this mean for potential businesses wishing to harness the power in which nearly 76% of the time the sun is emitting partly sunny to sunny rays in Kahului? Well for one entity, the University of Hawai’i at its Maui College campus has taken the necessary steps to become one of the first to derive 100 percent of its energy from on-site photovoltaic system (PV) coupled with battery storage. Jointly working with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current, the Maui location is able to exploit the sun to its fullest extent and heavily reduce their carbon footprint by decreasing fossil fuel consumption with the addition of the storage system to their campus.
While O’ahu is still working its way towards a diminished fossil fuel imprint it will still have some ways to go as the “PV plus storage system will be able to eliminate the institutions fossil fuel based energy altogether when it goes into effect in 2019,” according to Lulu Chang of Digital Trends. By 2019 it is expected that the total on-site capacity will be 2.8 MW of solar PV and 13. 2 MWh of battery distributed storage to the UH Maui College, while O’ahu campus gains are expect to meet 7.7 MW of solar PV and 28.6 MWh of battery storage in the near future.
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©2018 Meteorologist Jessica Olsen
Image Courtesy: University of Hawai’i | Maui College