Those flying into the Kahului Airport in Maui at night now have a new landmark to let them know that they’re about to land in paradise—a giant solar panel array in the shape of a cross on the roof of the King’s Cathedral church, lit up with LED tape. In fact, the developers behind this project expect it to be visible from the International Space Station.
“Our electric bill is over $20,000 a month,” said James Marocco, senior pastor, in a statement. “Initially, we are paying for solar power, so current monthly savings are minimal. However, we will save approximately $12,000 a month when the system is donated to the church in seven years. This $2 million saved over the remaining life of the system will help King’s Cathedral and Chapels fulfill their mission in the communities we serve.”
HNU Energy installed the 236-kilowatt-capacity system, consisting of 1,050 photovoltaic panels from SunPower, on the roof of the church. The church will pay for solar power (which will cover 60 percent of its power needs) for seven years, recouping costs for HNU, which will then donate the system to the church.
A recent Ernst & Young report called Hawaii the fourth most attractive market for renewable energy in the United States. And on solar, specifically, it ranked second only to California, the report said, largely due to what it called “an attractive small-scale solar market.”