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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022

A traditional Hawaiian game on the Makahiki Grounds where 250 students participated on Tuesday. See more below.
Photo from Kahua Olohu Stewardship Committee
NA'ALEHU SOLAR WAS ANNOUNCED BY HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC on Tuesday. The owner of the solar farm project is Nexamp, located in Boston and founded in 2007. According to county tax records, the 166.48 acres where Nāʻālehu Solar is planned is owned by Daniel Taggerty-Onaga and Matthew William 
An image used on Nexmp's website to introduce
 Nāʻālehu Solar. Photo from Nexamp
Solomon, with an address listed as Kailua-Kona.
    Nexamp announced it plans to hold a virtual community outreach in January of 2023 as it starts the permitting process and plans for construction.
    Nāʻālehu Solar is expected to be online in 2025. It is one of several Nexamp projects planned around the state. Nexamp CEO Zaid Ashai said, “Our proven track record as a long-term owner/operator has made us a trusted partner in hundreds of communities today and our seven new Nexamp projects in Hawai‘i will help the state move toward its decarbonization goals. Dedicated to low- and moderate-income residents, each of these shared solar projects will ensure equal access to participate and lower their electric costs while reducing the islands’ fossil fuel dependence. We look forward to making our popular community solar program and other consumer decarbonization services available to all residents of Hawai‘i in the years ahead.”

Image from the Nexamp website.

    In March, Hawaiian Electric opened a request for proposals for developers, companies, organizations or groups to become a “subscriber organization” of shared solar projects for Low and Moderate Income customers. According to the Hawaiian Electric statement, LMI shared solar projects "help lower the electric bills of customers who meet low- and moderate-income levels and are unable to install privately-owned rooftop solar." Once the projects are available on Hawaiian Electric’s CBRE Portal, LMI customers – including those who are renters and apartment residents – may become "subscribers" to Nāʻālehu Solar. Once the project is built and online, subscribers receive credits on their monthly electricity bill based on their level of participation."

    Nāʻālehu Solar is planned to be a 3.5 MG plus battery facility. See nexamp.com/naalehu-solar.
    The company's website says, "Hawai'i is moving away from fossil fuels and into a renewable future. Nāʻālehu Solar is designed to support the island’s goal of being 100% renewable by 2045. The project, located south of Mamalahoa Highway, will generate clean power, build grid reliance, and lower electricity costs. It is also a part of the CBRE low to moderate

Location of the planned Nāʻālehu Solar Farm.
Image from Nexamp
income (LMI) shared solar program, meaning that community members who meet certain LMI income requirements are eligible to enroll.
    "Nexamp will finance, construct, own and operate the project. We plan to use local labor at prevailing wages for construction and ongoing maintenance and have already established relationships with local contractors."
    Nexamp calls its program the "Utility of the Future" and says, "We’re working with communities, businesses, and municipalities to democratize clean energy and support U.S. energy independence.

    "Nexamp subscribers receive annual electricity savings, and partners share in the profits of our unique, vertically integrated model. Best practices are honored, operations are efficient, and each year our solution expands farther."
    The project website shows photos of Green Sand Beach, hawksbill turtles and a stalk of bananas and says, "We’re in the business of helping Earth, not hurting it. To ensure our projects are environmentally conscious, we follow the permitting process and obtain all required approvals before starting construction."
    For more information on Hawaiian Electric’s shared solar program, go to hawaiianelectric.com/sharedsolar and communityenergyhawaii.com.

Map published by Nexamp showing location of Nāʻālehu Solar.

Kua O Ka Lā, Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences, and Nāʻālehu School fourth and fifth graders joined in traditional
Hawaiian games Tuesday at the Makahiki Grounds. Photo from Kahua Olohu Stewardship Committee
 The carved image of Lono for celebrating Makahiki Season.
Photo by Pua Palignawan
THE MAKAHKI GROUNDS near Nāʻālehu experienced Hawaiian games traditional to the season on Tuesday, with participation by 250 students from Kua O Ka Lā, Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences, and Nāʻālehu School fourth and fifth graders.
Makahiki games played were pāla'ie, 'ulumaika, pāhe'e, hū, kūkini, pōhaku ho'okaika, 'ō'ō 'ihe, haka moa, lupe and huki-huki tug of war.
    Ocean Nihipali Sesson won the 11th grade 'ō'ō 'ihe, spear throwing championship, with Eddie Wirtz becoming 10th grade champion. Lokahi Kaupu was sixth grade champion and Travis DeCoito was fourth grade champion.
    The Kahua Olohu Stewardship Committee sent out mahalos to Kua O Ka Lā, Ho'omalu Kaʻū, Ka 'Ohana O Honuapo, County of Hawai'i, Hawai'i Wildlife Fund, 'Ala Kahakai Trails Association, The Nature Conservancy, Kumu Kiliona Moku of Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences, teachers from Nāʻālehu Elementary School, its Principal Wilma Roddy and all of the keiki participants. More mahalos went to Kamomi Biven and Honu Lafitaga for 100 lbs. of kalo to papa kui'ai, Leina'ala Enos and Clarissa and Dwayne Pua for additional keiki snacks.
    Organizers said they hope to host 1,000 keiki in the next Makahiki Season. Nohea Kaawa said, "It was fun. Students were very competitive, super talented and came out to give their wai in the form of their sweat to honor our Lono Season!" 

Makahiki games drew 250 students. Photo by Wilma Roddy

Arm wrestling was one of the makahiki events at Makahiki Grounds on Tuesday. Photo by Wilma Roddy
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