Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sunetric deploys energy-saving smart solar system in Hawaii

Iain Morris
June 24, 2014
 
Solar energy firm Sunetric says it has deployed an energy-saving photovoltaic system that includes smart-grid controls at a popular beachfront resort on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

The technology has been designed to ensure that all electricity generated by the photovoltaic system is consumed by the local facility, and not fed back into the utility grid – making it easier for Kaui Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), the island’s electric utility provider, to manage the grid.

KIUC and other utilities have previously expressed concern about “grid saturation”, whereby electricity generated by a solar photovoltaic system exceeds the maximum amount allowed on a particular circuit.

Sunetric (Kailua, HI, USA) claims its system resolves this issue while also providing customers the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy.

The Kauai project is expected to save the resort more than $30,000 annually in energy costs.

KIUC has been monitoring the system through interval data and has already confirmed that the solar array has not exported power to the grid.

Sunetric says the custom solution – which took four months to develop and implement – could serve as a model for photovoltaic installations where interconnection capacity is a concern.

“We partnered with Sunetric to deploy this unique solution because they are one of the largest and most well established local solar developers and installers in Hawaii,” said Larry Gilbert, managing partner and chief executive at Kairos Energy Capital, a Hawaii-based merchant bank that provided financing for the project. “The Sunetric team brought great engineering know-how and top-notch service to the project, which has become one of our most innovative solar technologies to date.”

“Sunetric now supports our ongoing efforts to help businesses ‘go green’ by adopting solar,” he added.

Sunetric said the solution represented its first “solar-to-grid curtailment system” designed to overcome the grid saturation concerns that are common in Hawaii.

“This popular Kauai resort has now created a more sustainable future for themselves and their guests, and we expect other Hawaii resort properties to follow,” said Aaron Kirk, Sunetric's president.
 
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