804kW System will be Sited at Kona Commons, Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i KAILUA,
Oahu, January 22, 2008 – Suntech Hawaii today announced that it has been engaged by MK Kona Commons, LLC a subsidiary of the The MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group to develop an 804 kW solar photovoltaic system for its Kona Commons, Phase I, retail property. When placed in service in the fall of 2008, the project will produce more than 1.1 million kWh of electricity each year, enough to power 128 homes and eliminate 1.8 million pounds of carbon emissions annually.
Hawaii’s electricity rates are the highest in the nation, with Big Island businesses paying more than 30 cents per kWh. “The Kona Commons project is a direct reflection of the commercial appeal photovoltaics have in Hawaii’s energy market place” said Suntech’s President, Sean Mullen. “Between generous federal and state tax incentives and our ever-increasing electricity rates, the business case for solar has never been stronger.”
As a state, Hawaii produces virtually all of its electricity from fossil fuels – 78 percent from petroleum and another 14 percent from coal – all of which must be imported. As scientists continue to document the impacts of global warming, with sea level rise a particular concern for Hawaii residents, switching to renewable energy sources such as solar is an important way for the state to limit the environmental impact of its activities. Members of the business community are now taking the lead in weaning Hawaii off carbon-intensive electricity.
“Sustainable building practices are consistent with the corporate culture we’ve built as an environmentally responsible developer” said BJ Kobayashi, CEO of Kobayashi Group. “At Kona Commons investing in solar not only made sense for the bottom line but it was also the clearest statement we could make to our tenants and the people of Hawaii about our commitment to the environment.”
Over their lifetime, renewables generate far more jobs than fossil fuels per unit of energy produced. Researchers at UC Berkeley found that solar photovoltaics create the most jobs per MWh of capacity – an average of 9.0, compared to 1.0 for coal and 1.8 for wind and biomass projects. At these rates and with the State’s continued support of the alternative energy industry, renewables are set to be an engine of high-quality, high-tech job growth in the coming decades.
“Going green in partnership with a local company like Suntech Hawaii is a meaningful step that Hawaii’s businesses can take to develop the local economy by supporting Hawaii’s growing alternative energy industry” said Jeff Dinsmore, President of MKC Management, which oversees the development of the Kona Commons project. Nationally, the number of alternative energy jobs now exceeds 450,000, with 95 percent in the private sector.
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