Energy storage and green waste to energy project underway at UH Hilo

The energy storage will provide two benefits to the university—first, peak utility rate shavings, and second, storage of renewable energy from sources such as the campus photovoltaic array.

Aerial view of campus.
UH Hilo’s PV array system has a capacity of about 500 KW and is distributed among the Student Services Center, the College of Business and Economics building (the former Student Services building), the Mookini Library, and the Performing Arts Center. The array saves the university approximately $300,000 per year in electricity costs.

An Energy Storage and Green Waste to Energy project is under construction at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The pilot project, which consists of a new 250KW/500KWH self-contained turn-key battery storage and power generation system, will provide a new self-contained turn-key battery storage and power generation system for the campus. The battery storage is designed for peak utility rate shaving and storing renewable energy, meaning energy will be stored during lower demand energy periods and then used during high demand energy periods.

“UH Hilo is continually reducing its negative environmental impact and striving to be ecologically restorative in our campus buildings, systems, and operations,” says Jerry Watanabe, director of the UH Hilo Office of Facilities Planning and Construction.

The contractor is SU-MO Builders at the cost of $853,345. The project, located behind the Sciences and Technology building, commenced last summer with a projected construction duration of one year.

The energy storage will provide two benefits to the university—first, peak utility rate shavings, and second, storage of renewable energy from sources such as the campus photovoltaic array.

A feasibility study completed in May 2016 regarding Green Waste to Energy concluded that UH Hilo does not have enough green waste on campus to be self-sufficient. Such systems require partnering with the Department of Environmental Management to use green waste collected at county transfer stations in order to provide material enough to process.

The future objective of the new battery storage and power generation system is for a mega-watt hour (MWH) of battery storage on campus. Presently, the battery storage system will be used for peak shaving. In the future, the battery system will be used to prevent energy exportation back to the HELCO grid. The current utility agreement does not include a net metering program and UH Hilo will not be compensated for any energy export back onto the grid.

 

-UH Hilo Stories