University of Hawaii Could Become First 100% Renewable Campus in the U.S.

The campus’ solar-plus-storage project is scheduled to be fully operational by 2019, and it consists of 2.8 megawatts of Solar PV and 13.2 megawatt-hours of battery distributed energy storage.


In 2015 the Hawaiian Legislature set a collective for the (UH) University of Hawaii to be “net zero”, by 2035, which means that the amount of renewable energy created must equal the amount consumed.  

Now due to the effort, the University is inching closer and closer to this goal, which means that UH’s Maui College would become the first university to make this happen.  

Across the United States, there is an increase in cities that have made the pledge towards 100% renewable energy. Hawaii is the only state to make this pledge by 2045 in a benchmark made three years ago. This decision made by the University is going to help the entire state as they move forward on this ambitious goal.   

Johnson Controls is partnering with UH, they are known for developing the systems and Pacific Current, which is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries.  

Four other Oahu-based UH campuses have also promised to slash their carbon footprint with their own energy and infrastructure. The campuses have come up with a whole bunch of solution ideas that are set to become a reality; with a combination of solar shade canopies, distributed energy storage and energy efficiency measures.  

The coalition of campuses Oahu that is committed to this mission include, Leeward Community College, Kapi’olani Community College, and Windward Community College, and with their combined efforts they will see a reduction of fossil fuel energy by 98 percent, 74 percent, 97 percent, and 70 percent respectively.  

The Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton said, “We are proud to move the entire University of Hawaii System closer to its net-zero energy mandate, to celebrate UH Maui College’s achievement and to position the Oahu community college campuses within reach of 100 percent renewable energy generation.” 

The University spokesman, Michael Unebasami has also promised a network of solar panels that will power the campus’ 78-acre grounds by the next year.  

According to Fast Company educational opportunities for UH’s students is also an appealing aspect of the Johnson Controls project to turn the entire school 100% energy free.  

“While the new energy efficiency measures and solar arrays will save the UH system around $78 million, that’s not what makes it unique: Johnson Controls and UH have also partnered on an educational program, featuring curriculum, an internship program, and workshops for faculty and students, that will roll out alongside the new energy systems.”  

The University of Hawaii is the only public system of higher education in Hawaii, and it includes 10 campuses with dozens of educational, training, and research across the state. With over 49,000 students it looks like this might become a reality faster than we think.  

Do you think that more colleges should move to 100% renewable energy?  





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