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Maui Food Bank recognized for going green

By Staff | Nov 17, 2011

The county proclamation officially declared Nov. 4, 2011, as “Maui Food Bank Goes Green Day.” Pictured, from left, are Deidre Tegarden, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s representative for Maui County; Maui Food Bank Executive Director Rich Yust; Mayor Alan Arakawa; HNU Energy President Michael Reiley and Project Manager Ryder Swatek; and Mark Walker, chairman of the Board of Directors for Maui Food Bank. Photo by John Henry Photography Inc.

WAILUKU – Maui Food Bank celebrated its new solar photovoltaic system with a Renovation Celebration Reception on Nov. 4.

Mayor Alan Arakawa and many other Maui County officials attended this milestone event.

Maui Food Bank’s 760 Kolu St. facility is the first – and currently the only – food bank in the United States to generate 100 percent of its very substantial electricity needs from clean, renewable solar energy.

As of Oct. 31, the new PV system generated 18 megawatt-hours of electricity, saving the Maui Food Bank over $7,000 in just over a month.

HNU Energy installed the modern solar PV system at the Maui Food Bank.

Funded by Maui County’s Community Development Block Grant program, the compact, highly efficient system generates 89.7 kilowatts of AC power.

The system was custom-designed by HNU engineers in conjunction with Morikawa & Associates (consulting engineer) and F&H Construction (general contractor).

“We are thrilled to help our Wailuku neighbors, the Maui Food Bank, do even more to help feed the hungry in Maui County,” said Dan O’Connell, CEO of HNU Energy.

Maui Food Bank provides nutrition to over 10,000 county residents each month, many on a regular basis.

“Reducing our electric bill by $50,000 annually helps us provide more food to those most in need in Maui County,” said Rich Yust, Maui Food Bank’s executive director.

“With a 30 percent increase in the need for food since the 2008 recession, we turned to solar PV as a means to significantly reduce our operating costs.”

Parent company HNU Photonics is one of the fastest-growing small businesses in the state. The firm was Maui County’s winner of the statewide Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase Award and ranked in the Top Ten this year by Pacific Business News in their July 2011 annual ranking of “Hawaii’s Fastest 50.”