The County of Maui announced on Friday, Oct. 4, that a group of companies led by Hawai'i Pacific Solar LLC in Lahaina submitted the highest scoring proposal and will be awarded the contract to install more PV panels on community facilities.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) included 18 sites on Molokai and Maui, including fire and police stations, water treatment plants, aquatic centers, community centers and other county facilities. Currently, the county is the largest generator of solar power on Maui, with installed systems with a present net value of more than $10 million in savings.
"We will save taxpayer dollars because our starting price is lower than the MECO rate," said Mayor Alan Arakawa. "But just as important is the fact that the county demonstrate to the community how renewable energy can be used in ways that traditional fossil sources cannot."
Hawai'i Pacific offered the county a proposal with "price de-escalation." The price the county will pay for the power will drop every year for 20 years by 2.75 percent (from 23.4 cents kWh in the first year to 13.8 cents kWh in year 20). Hawai'i Pacific was the only bidder to offer declining pricing.
The new RFP also calls for microgrid PV systems, including battery storage, to be installed at up to five of the 18 facilities.
A microgrid generally runs connected to MECO but has its own backup power. In the event the grid goes down, solar panels will be available to power emergency operations.
"We were pleasantly surprised by the PPA [Power Purchase Agreement] price for micro-grid systems," said Doug McLeod, Maui County energy commissioner.
Hawai'i Pacific will also sell the power from microgrid systems using a declining price. The price starts at 27.5 cents per kWh and drops to 16.2 cents.
This RFP was for the latest phase of county solar rooftop PV projects.
Under the county solar program, the winning bidder pays for the cost of installing the PV and sells the power to the county under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This arrangement allows a private party to take advantage of available tax credits for solar PV that the county could not use if it purchased panels directly.
For more information, contact McLeod at 270-7203. Visit www.mauicounty.gov/energy.