February 6, 2015 at 10:17 AM HST - Updated August 28 at 10:46 AM
(HawaiiNewsNow) This 125-kilowatt photo-voltaic system has already been up and running for a week now. It includes 385 panels on 2 rooftops and over the next 20 years it should save Damien Memorial School $1.5 million.
"Right now our electric bill is running about 33 cents per kilowatt hour. It's estimated we should be half that with these panels," says Bernard Ho, President & CEO, Damien Memorial School.
"Obviously you have the environmental benefits also. So you're saving greenhouse gases, consuming less energy in general which is great for the environment and for the business side of the school," said Matteo Muehlhauser, Senior, Damien Memorial School.
The savings comes at a great time because the school is expanding. Work is already underway on a new athletics facility. There are also plans for a new library and music building and they're redoing the football field.
"We didn't have the cash position to be advancing on a system like this. So a wonderful donor couple from Maui was able to chime in and finance this whole project. We can pay back for the system over time with the savings. So we still net out bottom line savings from all of this."
Here's how it works. The investors from Maui paid for the system, own it and maintain it. They sell the energy to Damien at a discounted rate. The school even has the option to buy the system after year 6 of the partnership.
"This is an opportunity to turn this into a classroom project. There's opportunity to monitor energy consumption on a regular basis on-line. Our students in the physics department or the math department can use that as a lab project.”
Energy Industries installed the PV's, and worked on the roof to extend it's life for another 20 years...at no cost to Damien.