Dependable Hawaiian Express and REC Solar, an unregulated affiliate of Duke Energy, installed a solar microgrid solution (complete with baller PV panel rooftop design) that bring reliability, savings, zero-emissions generation and more to this Hawaii-based freight company.
The vision for renewable generation combined with energy storage as a backup power supply came long before DHX opened its environmentally friendly facility in Honolulu last August.
“When your company’s first name is “dependable,” you better have a power system that is too,” said DHX President Brad Dechter. “Still, my commitment to going green isn’t just about reliable energy and saving money. I have a granddaughter who is 7, and it’s as much about saving the planet for her future. The key for me was finding the right expert.”
“DHX wanted an emissions-free solution that would complement their commitment to customer service and ensure business continuity – even during a power outage,” said Dan Alcombright, senior vice president of REC Solar. “Providing innovative, resilient, clean energy solutions to our customers is what we do best.”
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About the project
REC Solar designed, engineered and installed 360 solar panels on the 76,000-square-foot (7,061 square meters) roof of DHX’s new warehouse and distribution center in Honolulu. Located on one side of the roof, the 133-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system eliminates 152 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually – that’s equivalent to removing about 33 passenger cars from the road for a year.
The solar generation is combined with 222 kWh of battery energy storage, a microgrid controller and other equipment. The result is a zero-emissions energy system that protects DHX’s sensitive electronic equipment and provides up to four hours of backup power during outages. The microgrid enables a graceful shutdown and smooth transition from grid power during electric outages.
“Avoiding costs from damaged computers, servers and other equipment could in itself pay for the system,” Dechter noted. “And using the energy we produce on-site is a great way to shift load, reduce my peak usage and lower year-round demand charges. That cuts costs year-round.”
“I like the package REC put together as it allows us flexibility and coverage we need at the best value,” added Dechter. “And the solar panels on the roof spell out DHX – a great way to promote our business to those traveling by plane or helicopter over the shipping and warehouse districts.”
With the first phase of the project completed, the next phase includes the installation of more solar on the alternate side of the roof. The additional clean energy will provide electric vehicle charging capacity for the company’s planned transition to electric vehicles (EV) in the future.
That’s even more carbon reduction to make Dechter’s granddaughter proud.
— Solar Builder magazine