Going green makes sense for a state rich in renewables
Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to install a photovoltaic power system at its Ward Street facility.
HAWAIIAN Electric Co.'s small step toward commercialized photovoltaic power
is a welcome if somewhat tardy move toward renewable sources for electricity generation.
As a growing number of consumers acknowledge the need to be green, businesses, housing developers and other non-utility enterprises also should be taking advantage of the islands' abundant sunshine and proficient technology to produce their own power, and put up conservation-sensitive buildings.
HECO is negotiating a deal with Kapolei-based Hoku Solar Inc. to install a photovoltaic power system at the electric company's Ward Avenue facility. Though the system would generate just 167 kilowatts -- enough for 150 to 200 homes -- it could launch HECO toward larger-scale commercial production, ease the choke-hold imported oil has on the islands and even change the way the company distributes power to customers.
As HECO ventures into photovoltaics, the company also is encouraging its customers to join in. With the price of oil certain to rise and greenhouse gas reductions sure to be required in the coming years, renewable energy production makes a lot of sense.
Meanwhile, individual homeowners are either retrofitting older homes or building new ones that incorporate photovoltaic and other renewable energy sources, combining features that cut power demand. Though upfront costs might be higher, in the long term, they stand to reduce utility bills and pollution.
A few housing developers also are catching the green wave with residential projects on Kauai and Maui that do the same. But while builders on the mainland for years have been constructing entire projects with solar or photovoltaics and conservation systems integrated into home designs, developers here have been lagging.
As the Star-Bulletin's Allison Schaefers reports today, however, green has become the hottest segment in the real estate market. The power of the pocket should prompt them to get with the program. And the sooner the better.
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