Habitat Completes First ‘Off-The-Grid’ Home
Molokai Habitat for Humanity News Release
With the help from Hawaii’s leading residential solar company, RevoluSun, Molokai Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the dedication and blessing of its 19th completed home for the Kaai `Ohana. This will be Hawaii Habitat’s first “off-grid” home on Hawaiian Home Lands, as well as the first home built by Molokai Habitat with a renewable energy system.
“We are so excited because this is the first home for Habitat for Humanity nationally that is off-the-grid,” said Emillia Noordhoek, Resource Development Director for Molokai Habitat. “Molokai has the highest cost of living in the state and we are one of the most isolated islands. We wanted to build a home that would be affordable for the family and be best for our ‘aina.”
The journey to this projects completion was one of sweat, love, commitment, and of course, genuine hard work. The high cost to install the house’s electrical infrastructure – quoted by MECO at $30,000 – led to the opportunity of using renewable energy.
It was then that Molokai Habitat realized this was the opportunity they needed to build a simple, decent, and affordable home which included its own renewable energy. How can housing be affordable to the homeowner if the hidden cost of utilities is $300-$500 per month? The blessing and answer to this question came through Oahu’s Solar Contractor RevoluSun.
RevoluSun generously donated their time and labor for the design and installation of the solar system.
According to an analysis released on Friday, the trade group reports having its slowest quarter since 2007, adding just 395 megawatts of wind power capacity.
For the year to date, new installations were down 72 percent.
The reasons are many.
For starters, as any number of unemployed Americans can testify, the nation’s economic engines just aren’t humming like they used to, and that means less demand for electricity over all. Natural gas, the chief fossil-fuel competitor to renewable sources of electricity, is also dirt cheap these days, making wind power a tougher sell for cost-conscious utilities and state regulators.
The federal government has awarded $2.1 million to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to build energy storage systems that can be used to increase the capacity of electric utilities to accept more renewable energy.
DBEDT said it will allocate $1.2 million of the total to Maui Electric Co. and $900,000 to Hawaii Electric Light Co. on the Big Island. The funding will be used to build energy storage systems that would help smooth out the ebbs and flows of electricity to the grid from renewable sources, such as wind and solar. Interconnection costs will be paid by the utilities.
Battery technology is the primary method for storing electricity generated by renewable sources, but other options are available, including compressed air, pumped hydro, and flywheels.
A 1.21 megawatt solar power farm that will feed electricity into the Kauai electrical grid is on track to be completed by the end of this year, according the company developing the project.
The photovoltaic system being built in Kapaa for the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative would be about the same size as the La Ola Solar Farm on Lanai, which is currently the state’s largest.
The solar farm will help the KIUC as it does its part to meet the state’s objective to generate more of its electricity from renewable sources. KIUC announced last week that it plans to break ground next year on a 3-megawatt photovoltaic system in Koloa on the southern side of the island.
The Kapaa solar project is being developed by REC Solar, which has installed smaller systems across the state, including ones at three Costco stores, a Longs Drug Store, Kauai Community College and Tony Auto Group.