The Sunnyside Energy system consists of 90 STION 135W panels mounted in two arrays, each equipped with a 5 kW Solar Edge inverter.

Novel Net Meter Solar PV System in Hawaii

Contributed by | HNU Energy

From the ground up, the Net Meter Solar PV system installed for Sunnyside Energy is innovative in every respect. Utilizing cutting edge components supplied by Maui-based Hawaii Power & Light (“HP&L)”, HNU ENERGY (“HNU”) pioneered a fast, economical ground mount system.

“We had a very tight roof footprint and a very large lot, so a ground mount was clearly the preferred option,” says Trip Lynch, owner of Sunnyside Energy. “The issue from the get-go was cost,” Lynch continued. “Working with HP&L, HNU designed and installed this ground mount system at a cost per watt remarkably competitive with rooftop costs.”

The Sunnyside Energy system consists of 90 STION 135W panels mounted in two arrays, each equipped with a 5 kW Solar Edge inverter. These components and the custom racking were all supplied by HP&L, who worked closely with the manufacturer to guarantee the structural integrity of the innovative system.

“The key to containing ground mount costs is the system used to attach the arrays to the earth,” says Ryder Swatek, HNU’s Project Manager. “We used a quick drive auger system for this job, which eliminated costly footing excavation and concrete. The 20 heavy gauge galvanized augers were simply screwed into the earth 5 feet and we were ready to attach the racking system.”

Swatek was HNU’s Project Manager for the 11 megawatt battery storage facility at Auwahi Wind in Ulupalakua and for the large solar carport installation at UH Maui College in Kahului, both complex and challenging projects. “While considerably smaller in scope, the Sunnyside Energy project tested our capabilities with this novel auger technology,” he continued. “It was reassuring to achieve such positive results given the unexpected obstacles we encountered.”

“During the initial phase of the installation, Ryder was on the phone with the manufacturer’s engineering team,” says Sunnyside’s Lynch. “The seamless coordination between component manufacturer, local distributor (HP&L), and system designer-installer (HNU) ensured the successful implementation of this novel technology to my complete satisfaction. Even better, energy production (see chart) has greatly exceeded our projections, averaging over 54 kWh daily so far in January, despite shorter winter days and typically overcast north shore/upcountry weather. Our long-term energy cost savings combined with HNU’s cost-effective installation will yield an extremely attractive payback on this investment.”

Launched over a year ago and specializing in renewable energy and related high efficiency products, HP&L is Hawaii’s “one stop” location for all components and related accessory equipment for solar photovoltaic contractors and installers. For projects ranging from entire residential communities to large utility-scale facilities, HP&L offers a broad selection of leading brands as well as specialty products only available here. HP&L is truly “Hawaii’s Renewable Energy Super Store.” HP&L specializes in superior products, competitive prices, free delivery, and a genuine dedication to customer service.

Research breakthroughs by HNU ENERGY have lead to pioneering innovations from the highest quality LED lighting products, to concentrated photovoltaic panels, to utility-scale storage systems. One of the most widely licensed photovoltaic contractors in Hawaii and an award-winning leader in solar energy technology, HNU ENERGY specializes in complex, cutting edge, renewable energy systems powered by custom design and proprietary engineering. Its team of highly skilled engineers, researchers, and technicians draw upon decades of experience and accumulated wisdom in renewable energy and related fields.


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