A New 121-KW PV System will Offset 86 Percent of All Electricity Use at the Company’s Big Island Macadamia Nut Processing Facility
Sunetric, Hawaii’s leading solar design and installation company, will install a 121-kilowatt (KW) photovoltaic (PV) system this summer at the Big Island orchard of Island Princess Macadamia Nut Company, allowing the gourmet food products company to add solar energy to its extensive array of sustainable farming practices.
Honolulu-based Island Princess will use the fixed ground-mount system to power its macadamia nut processing facility, located on the company’s 1,100-acre orchard at Keaau on the Big Island. The orchard, which encompasses 110,000 macadamia nut trees, has for years used sustainable soil management and pruning techniques, as well as recycling organic byproducts such as potting and road surfacing material.
The photovoltaic array will generate 14,730 kWh of energy each month, offsetting 86 percent of the processing facility’s electricity, which is used to slow-dry, crack, sort and roast nearly 30,000 pounds of macadamia nuts each day during the peak harvesting season of August through March. The array will result in a monthly savings to Island Princess of more than $5,100, or nearly $62,000 a year, allowing the company to recoup its investment during the third year of operation. Construction is set to be completed by August 2012.
“Agriculture is a key industry for creating a more sustainable Hawaii, and we are proud to continue a legacy of environmentally sound harvesting practices,” said Dr. Michael Purdy, president of Island Princess. “As we look to increase macadamia nut production in the coming years, this array will be essential in helping us reduce our energy consumption and environmental impact.”
The array’s clean solar energy will also replace more than 288 barrels of oil a year that would have been imported to Hawaii to make electricity.
“Coming from a background in agribusiness, I am always pleased to be working with farmers and growers to help them achieve cost savings and run their operations in a more sustainable manner,” said Alex Tiller, CEO of Sunetric. “Island Princess embodies the progression toward a more sustainable food production infrastructure in Hawaii, of which renewable energy sources will play a critical role.”
For nearly 30 years, Island Princess has manufactured specialty macadamia nut products, chocolates and confections in Hawaii. The company grows and processes its macadamia nuts on its 1,100-acre orchard and facility on the Big Island, and transforms the nuts into gourmet confections at its 30,000-square-foot factory in Honolulu. Visit islandprincesshawaii.com for more information.