KONA-KOHALA COAST, Hawaii--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 17, 1998--The Mauna
Lani Bay Hotel and
Bungalows has contracted with PowerLight Corporation to become the first hotel in Hawaii to be powered by
commercial-scale solar electric energy.
And when the project is dedicated on May 29 in a formal ceremony at the hotel, Mauna Lani Bay will showcase what is believed to be the largest hotel solar photovoltaic (PV) system in the world.
"This is a win/win situation," states Donald Dickhens, general manager of the AAA Five Diamond hotel. "The PowerLight Corporation and its PowerGuard System will enable us to harness the year-round sunshine of our Kohala Coast region and put it to good use in a way that complements our existing source of electricity. Not only will this save the hotel hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility bills, but integrating solar electric energy will assist Hawaii in becoming much more energy independent."
The PowerLight PV system will cover 10,000 square feet of the Mauna
Lani Bay Hotel's rooftop. It is a technological feat made possible by lightweight,
patented PowerGuard solar electric roof tiles designed for flat to moderately
sloped roofs. The tiles incorporate state-of-the-art PV cells backed with
insulating polystyrene foam,
turning the sun's free energy into usable power.
"Mauna Lani's arrow-shaped, flat rooftop is perfectly conducive to this
system," states Daniel Shugar, executive vice president of the PowerLight
Corporation of Berkeley, California. "This patented new way to put panels
on a roof not only installs with no structural reinforcements, but it improves
the appearance of the roof and the
insulation lowers air-conditioning requirements and extends the life of the roof by protecting it from the elements -- all while generating electricity."
Over its life, the 100 kWp project for the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel will displace approximately 14,500 barrels of oil that would otherwise be imported and burned to generate the same amount of electricity necessary to operate the 350-room hotel.
With the Big Island's sparse population and a reliance on oil for power
generation, energy users are paying one of the highest per unit costs for
energy in the nation. Mauna Lani Bay's ideal location offers two advantages
to low utility costs using pollution-free solar electricity: almost year-round
sunshine (the Kohala Coast averages
only seven inches of rain annually) and Hawaii State solar tax credits.
On February 20, 1998, the Hawaii State Legislature will introduce a Resolution recognizing Mauna Lani Bay for this pioneering project and commending the hotel for its contribution to environmental cleanliness.
Mauna Lani is especially pleased to contribute to keeping Hawaii clean.
"We are firmly dedicated to the philosophy of responsible land stewardship,
perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture, and environmental
preservation," states Dickhens. "The installation of this system is in keeping with our general philosophy and enhances our worldwide acclaim as a pacesetter among international resorts."
The PowerGuard system has been used successfully in dozens of applications
since 1994, according to PowerLight's president, Tom Dinwoodie. "But the
Mauna Lani Bay project," states Dinwoodie, "is
believed to be the largest hotel solar electric system in the world.
"It is one of the first to qualify for inclusion in President Clinton's Million Solar Roof Initiative, a project which endeavors to accelerate the use of solar energy rooftops nationwide. Using the solar roof unit of .5kw, Mauna Lani Bay accomplishes 200 completed solar roofs at one time."
The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is part of the 3,200-acre Mauna Lani Resort, located 25 minutes north of the Kona International Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii. For reservations, call 800/327-8585. For hotel information call 800/367-2323 or 808/885-6622 in Hawaii. On the internet, www.maunalani.com or www.panpacific.com.