https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_pfGvkK2UDIY0IzMzBrcU5CQTgIao Valley, the Hawaii Nature Center’s program facility on Maui, has solar power thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Jonathan Merage Foundation and discounted photovoltaic (PV) installation by Maui-based Hawaii Pacific Solar.

“This grant had a two-fold purpose: to spread awareness of the benefits of solar power and to build the capacity of the Hawaii Nature Center,” said Chad Robertson, program coordinator, the Jonathan Merage Foundation.

The Jonathan Merage Foundation was founded by passionate young philanthropist, Jonathan Merage. It focuses on advancing the study of, education, and activities surrounding science and severe weather. The foundation seeks to invest in innovative and pioneering approaches to further our understanding of the world around us.

“We are very grateful to the Jonathan Merage Foundation for this grant,” said Hawaii Pacific Solar CEO, Bob Johnston, who is a HNC board member. “The PV panels will provide almost 100 percent of the power used by the facilities at Iao Valley, helping the Hawaii Nature Center reduce costs so it can deploy those cash assets elsewhere.”

The system size is 9.69 kW consisting of 255-watt panels and micro inverters. The environmental benefits are equivalent to saving 1,074 gallons of gas, 21,114 pounds of CO2 offset and 7,116 pounds of municipal waste to the landfill.