Kona Commons gets solar system


POSTED: Friday, January 30, 2009

Kona Commons, the new shopping center that will be home to Target, now has a photovoltaic system on its roof.

The 803-kilowatt project in Kailua-Kona is expected to generate nearly 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, or enough to power about 130 homes for a year.

Kona Commons is the latest in a growing number of commercial and retail projects opting to install solar PV systems, including Sam's Club at its Keeaumoku Street store, and Tori Richard Ltd. at its headquarters in Kalihi.

The Tony Group Autoplex in Waipahu is also getting ready to hold a blessing on Tuesday for three recently installed solar electric systems.

Sunetric, formerly Suntech Hawaii, which installed the system on Kona Commons, claims it is the largest rooftop solar project in the state.

The system is expected to eliminate 959 tons of carbon emissions annually.

“;We can now offer power to our tenants, at a lower, and more consistent rate than they would pay from the utility,”; said BJ Kobayashi, CEO of Kobayashi Group, co-developer of the project. “;The beauty of this system is it can be customized as tenants move or expand their space, and it also offers a new stream of revenue potential from the property.”;

Kobayashi, which is developing the center with the MacNaughton Group, added that investing in solar made sense not only for the bottom line, but as a commitment to the environment.

Kona Commons, an open-air mall measuring about 130,000 square feet, is home to Sports Authority, OfficeMax and Petco, which opened in September. Target is expected to open in July.

The total project was divided into 17 systems, each of which are net metered, allowing tenants to enter separate agreements with the developer to purchase solar power from the system associated with their meter.

Jeff Dinsmore, president of MKC Management, said a tenant's energy use will be monitored by a traditional net metering system, and billed accordingly.

“;We are looking at offering this specific system at our other projects in the future,”; he said.

Sunetric worked with a Santa Clara, Calif.-based technology company to create custom monitoring and automated billing systems.