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KCC cutting cord to fossil fuel

PUHI — Kauai Community College broke ground on a solar photovoltaic system Wednesday that, if on schedule, will be completed by the end of the year.

State Senate President Ron Kouchi and the combined efforts of the Kauai legislative team worked to secure the $2.5 million funding for the system.

“When I called Michael Unebasami of the University of Hawaii Community Colleges, he actually answered the phone,” Kouchi said. “I asked him if we could do the project with the $2.5 million funding, and he did not say no.”

KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said the groundbreaking was one of two celebrations by the college on Wednesday.

“The first celebration, the dedication of the Cultural Culinary Facility, was about culture,” Cox said. “This second celebration is about the environment. They both have strong educational aspects. We look forward to the construction of this solar photovoltaic project, and to be a partner in reducing fossil fueled generation on the island.”

The first segment of the project will be five electric vehicle charging stations located near the Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center. Vehicles using this facility will have a canopy to provide shade because the canopy will have 39 photovoltaic panels to offest the power required for the charging stations.

The groundbreaking for the charging stations is scheduled for June. The second phase will include 1,536 solar panels laid out in the area near the Chinese gazebo.

Each of the panels is rated at 350 watts, and depending on weather conditions, the solar array can produce in the neighborhood of about 40 percent of the college’s average daily usage of electricity.

Additionally, the system will incorporate Tesla battery power packs with a 168 kilowatt storage capacity that will offer some of the electrical power after the sun goes down. Cox said the battery platform can accommodate additional battery expansion in the future.

“This project is the future of solar power,” said Charles Chacko of Greenpath Technologies. “The project is basically divided into five components — the solar battery carport, the EV charging stations, the array, batteries and, most importantly, a relay that means we won’t have to export excess power produced.”

Cox said the project should be completed by the end of the year.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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