Hawaii Resort Upgrades Solar System

The Mauna Lani Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island has dedicated another 250 kW of photovoltaic modules that boosts its solar generating capacity to half a megawatt …the largest of any resort in the world.

KOHALA COAST, Hawaii (US) 2002-02-06 [SolarAccess.com] The Mauna Lani Resort on Hawaii’s Big Island has dedicated another 250 kW of photovoltaic modules that boosts its solar generating capacity to half a megawatt…the largest of any resort in the world. The PowerTracker system was manufactured and installed by PowerLight Corp of Berkeley, California. The sun-tracking system covers three acres of land and supplies most of the power for the resort’s daytime water pumping. The system captures 30 percent more solar energy than fixed systems, and a data acquisition system monitors operational data that is downloaded every night for analysis the next day. The 24 rows of PV panels each has 40 ASE300 modules for a combined output of 10.5 kW AC per row. Two 150 kW Xantrex inverters convert the power from 500 V DC to 208 V AC, or 480 V AC for the irrigation pumps. Part of the solar energy is stepped to 12,470 V AC for irrigation pumps that are more than a mile from the site. “This is our fourth solar electric system from PowerLight,” says Neil Bustamante, vice president of Mauna Lani Resort. “These clean, reliable systems make sense both for our operating budget and the environment. We project saving $5 million over the next 25 years, while keeping true to Mauna Lani’s vision of preserving our beautiful land.” The 250 kW PowerTracker project is the fourth solar project that PowerLight has furnished for Mauna Lani. In 1998, the resort installed a 80 kW solar roof system for its hotel, and a 110 kW system to power its golf facility. Over the last two years, both systems have performed with an availability of 98 percent and continue to generate energy above specification. “Mauna Lani’s deployment of renewable solar energy throughout its resort illustrates their commitment to environmentally sound, cost-effective solutions,” says Daniel Shugar of PowerLight. “Mauna Lani is truly visionary proving every day that solar power is integral to meeting Hawaii’s energy needs.” Mauna Lani has also deployed a fleet of solar-powered golf cars, using PowerLight’s SunCaddy electric systems, at its 36-hole, internationally-acclaimed Francis Brown golf course. The SunCaddy replaces existing golf car rooftops with a canopy that incorporates PV technology to recharge golf carts throughout the day, reducing recharging costs while doubling battery life. The resort’s entire golf car fleet will be powered by SunCaddy systems by the end of next year. The four solar systems at the resort displace the emission of thousands of tons of emissions linked with global warming, and generate internal rates of return above 20 percent, adds Shugar. The rooftop panels reduce utility costs while extending the lifetime of the roof and providing added thermal insulation benefits to the building. Mauna Lani Resort is a subsidiary of Tokyu Corp of Japan. The resort is located on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast, north of Kona International Airport. Its Hotel has received an award for its acres of preserved, ancient Hawaiian fishponds. PowerLight was founded in 1991 to manufacture commercial-scale solar electric products.
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