Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
The completion of a 1.2 MW solar farm and 500 kW battery storage system for the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts plant in Kea‘au on the Big Island is the largest operating PV project dedicated to a private company in Hawai‘i.
The system is expected to generate 1.55 million kWh of solar energy yearly, preventing the emission of more than 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. Hawaiian Host Group and DSD Renewables completed the installation in partnership with No Ka Oi Energy of Maui.
No Ka Oi Energy brought the project to DSD and assisted in development. DSD will be the long-term owner and manager of the solar and storage assets. “DSD’s design and implementation have created a world-class solar installation right here in Kea‘au,” No Ka Oi Energy President Glenn Yamasaki said.
The project includes 2,916 solar panels on three acres of Mauna Loa’s macadamia nut farm, and it will power 85% of the processing plant — complementing existing clean energy sources — making the facility 100% self-sustainable.
As stewards of environmental sustainability, Mauna Loa is reducing its carbon footprint. For example, its Hawaiian crop of macadamias are grown with only rainwater, making it one of the most sustainable nut varieties.
Mauna Loa uses the whole nut during production cleanly burning the shells to create renewable energy and composts the nut shells to enrich the soil in the community, preventing waste.
Hawaiian Host Group President and CEO Ed Schultz said: “Hawaiian Host Group’s purpose is to make the islands’ future flourish, and partnering with DSD has allowed us to fulfill a large portion of our vision for a clean energy future.” Schultz added that Mauna Loa will continue to learn and act on minimizing environmental impact on the land.
“Hawaiian Host Group’s sustainable vision and leadership made the Mauna Loa project a great opportunity for DSD to apply our expertise in solar and storage development,” DSD Chief Commercial Officer Eric Pollock said.
The Mauna Loa brand (maunaloa.com) has been growing and roasting macadamias since 1946. Hawaiian Host Group (hawaiianhostgroup.com) is the parent company to Hawaiian Host, Mauna Loa, and KOHO brands and has been offering a variety of products since 1927. DSD Renewables (DSDRenewables.com) capabilities include development, structured financing, project acquisition, and long-term asset ownership. No Ka Oi Energy, LLC (nkoenergy.com) is an energy development company specializing in comprehensive energy management, efficiency, and conservation measures for clients. No Ka Oi Energy develops utility grade renewable energy projects as well.
George Furukawa is a freelance writer based in Pearl City. He has been a professional journalist for more than 40 years and has worked in various editorial positions for daily, weekly and monthly publications. His articles have appeared in local as well as national publications including the Honolulu Star Bulletin (now the Star Advertiser), Building Industry Digest, Engineering News Record, Porthole, Nature Conservancy, Amateur Chef, Credit Union Times, Fresh Cut and Corporate & Incentive Travel.