|Solar panels would be 15 feet above ground and|
move to tilt toward the sun. Photo from Nexamp
|Concerns were expressed about siting the Nā'ālehu Solar|
away from homes and views. Photo from Nexamp
The question of electric bill savings to local residents came up, with one man saying that he would hope that Lower to Moderate Income families, which the project is mandated to serve, would receive more than 15 percent savings on their electric bills. He called a 15 percent savings "shallow."
Another said he can't get approval for Hawaiian Electric to buy power from his rooftop solar because Hawaiian Electric is maxed out accepting it in his neighborhood. Would Nexamp's contract with Hawaiian Electric make it harder for people in the area to sell their rooftop electricity to Hawaiian Electric? Billet noted that Nexamp would be improving infrastructure for the grid, which could allow Hawaiian Electric to use more solar from the area.
A man who said he was an engineer at the sugar mill in Pahala, which closed in 1996, noted that the sugar factory produced back up for power for Hawaiian Electric - burning the sugar cane waste - the bagasse for electricity. He said he approves of the solar farm and other energy producers like windmills for backup. He also said he worked for the Navy on nuclear ships and said that solar is a lot better than nuclear.
Another man said he already has solar on his house, but supports Nā'ālehu Solar for the community. "One thousand solar panels is better than one smokestack. I'm in, because it's clean energy."
Other topics included safety of the lithium batteries to be installed on the solar farm. If they were to catch fire, could the fire be stopped? Billet said there is NEST, the Nexamp Energy Storage Team that
|Agriculture could possibly surround the solar panels,|
according to Nexamp. Photo from Nexamp
Several asked whether Nexamp's solar panels would soon be obsolete. Billet said they are the latest development, using a single access tracker, "already using tomorrow's module." One man noted that an advancement allows the heat of the solar panels to be harvested for extra electricity.
One man asked whether the solar panels will be made in America? Billet said Korea and that components come from all over the world but that Nexamp prefers to source from the U.S. He noted new federal incentives to buy parts made in the U.S.
Regarding the 20-year term of the contract with Hawaiian Electric, Billet said 20 years is a common contract, given the likelihood that innovations will create less expensive electricity sources in the future. He also said without the kinds of community solar proposed by Nexamp, Hawai'i may not reach its goals of becoming energy self-sufficient.
Nexamp is planning another community outreach in April. With questions, contact email@example.com. Billet said the company website will be updated at https://www.nexamp.com/naalehu-solar.
|A groundbreaking for a Kona Kauhale, with permanent and temporary|
housing for the homeless, was held on Thursday with Mayor Mitch
Roth and Gov. Josh Green. Photo from the Mayor's Office
The amended emergency proclamation expires March 20, 2023, the same end date as the original document signed earlier this week.
KE OLA PU'UHONUA IS A NEW CULTURAL GARDEN, sponsored by nonprofit Uhane Pohaku Na Moku O Hawai'i, Inc. on the grounds of Punalu'u Bakeshop in Nā'ālehu. A blessing and presentation of hula and cultural demonstrations took place on Saturday, Jan. 21. The non-profit is led by cultural practitioner Kawehi Ryder and Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder of Halau Hula O Leonalani, based in Nā'ālehu. On hand for the blessing were former Mayor Harry Kim, Ka'u's County Councilwoman Michelle Galimba and Punalu'u Bakeshop owner Duane Kurisu, along with members, friends and family of the Halau. The opening of the grounds to the public is expected in March.
|Cultural practitioners teach keiki at the new Ke Ola Pu'uhonua.|
Photo by Laurie Roush-Ortega
These practitioners are some of the cultural experts who will be at the Pu'uhonua in March with its opening. A Live Traditional Keiki Hula show is expected to perform twice a month on Saturday at noon,
|Duane Kurisu, Harry Kim and Kawehi Ryder|
Photo by Julia Neal
with dates to be announced.
The slogan of Ke Ola Pu'uhonua is "A Living Cultural Refuge embracing Humility, Reverence and Disciplien with Aloha of the Spirit." The stated mission is "to provide Native Hawaiian Cultural Practices to all youth, their families and the community to create living environments integrating Mauka to Makai opportunities for places of learning and healing through the concept of Pu'uhonua, place of refuge."
The organization's statement says, "We have experienced that the development of heritage based life skills can perpetuate economic success and independence with a sense of family for individuals."
Planning for Ke Ola Pu'uhonua includes a walk for the public to experience places of: Hawaiian Food Plants; 'Aumakua Ancestral Forest; Lawai'a - Fisherman's Environment; La'au - Medicinal Plants; Kukui Grove - candlenuts; Plumeria Garden - flowers, foliage and lei; Hawaiian Antiquities Mo'olelo - Storytelling; and Makahiki Games - Hawaiian Games.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 808-238-5633.
|Halau Hula O Leionalani, under direction of Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, during the blessing of the new cultural|
garden, Ke Ola Pu'uhonua on the grounds of Punalu'u Bakeshop. Photo by Julia Neal
St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at email@example.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.
Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.
Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.
Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.
'O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.
Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in the upper lot only. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.
Ocean View Swap Meet at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.
The Book Shack is open every Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Kauaha'ao Congregational Church grounds at 95-1642 Pinao St. in Wai'ōhinu.