Hawaii Pacific Solar (HPS), a Maui-based solar PV design and installation company, has awarded a $2,450 grant to Lahainaluna High School for its sustainability project.
Students, under the guidance of teacher Jessica Kailani Ross who submitted the grant application, will learn how to build a solar-powered charging station for portable electronic devices, small appliances such as air-conditioners and refrigerators and pumps for an aquaponic system. “With this knowledge, students will begin learning how to design a system for their own homes,” said Ross.
“We are very excited about the imagination and dedication of teachers and the extra effort they are putting in to help their students learn to navigate the new world of renewable energy,” said Bob Johnston, CEO and president of HPS. “The goal of the grants is to help students understand the relevance of solar energy and sustainability in their lives and to see career opportunities.”
Grant applications were sent to West Maui Schools for class projects or tools that educate students about renewable energy and sustainability. The review team, including representatives from the Department of Education, Maui Economic Development Board, Hawaii Electric Company, community volunteers and HPS, evaluated the seven grant applications.
HPS started its grant program for schools in 2013. To date, HPS has awarded four Oahu schools a total of $5,468 for energy-related projects. In 2014, Hokulani Elementary School received a grant to explore the application of PV systems and their use in powering LEGO® robotic projects at the school, and King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School is using its grant award to participate with the Hokulea and Hikianalia in the first science project on hydroponics.
In 2013, Aiea Elementary School received a grant for a “green engineering” project for fifth graders who built a solar oven out of recycled products using renewable energy, and a second grant went to Aiea High School for an aquaponics project using the PV system installed by HPS. Students are currently growing food and various classes continue to use the aquaponics project.
In addition to the grant program, HPS gives each school lesson plan materials on solar energy, a sun safety program and a flat screen monitor that allows students to do real-time monitoring to see the amount of power being generated and the amount of carbon reduction and energy saving as a result of the solar panels.
HPS was awarded Department of Education (DOE) contracts to install solar panels at some 45 Oahu and Kauai schools under a Power Purchase Agreement whereby the system is owned, operated and maintained by RC Energy of Denver Colorado. The installations are at no cost to DOE. HPS also installed a PV system at Maui Preparatory Academy in 2013 that is estimated to save more than $450,000 over the 20-year life of the system.