Hawai'i's demigod, Maui, roped the sun for the benefit of the islands' people. In other ways, the solar photovoltaic (PV) movement is doing the same thing--harnessing the sun for the benefit of humans.
According to the Solar Electric Power Association, Hawai'i leads the nation and the Island of Maui leads the state at 5.4 percent in the percentage of utility customers with PV systems.
Recently, the Public Utilities Commission raised the percentage of solar power that could be included in each of Maui's 132 electrical circuits, allowing more homes to install PV systems.
But the question remains: How much fluctuating solar power can the Maui electrical grid manage?
University of Hawai'i Maui College's (UHMC) Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) has offered PV training for entry level and advanced trainees for the past five years. Both unemployed and industry-employed people have taken these trainings to improve their job skills.
Starting on Saturday, May 10, the 40-hour Advanced Photovoltaic training will be offered on five weekend days for PV employees ready to increase their knowledge and skills. This training provides one of the requirements for taking the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) installer exam to become a nationally certified installer.
For the first time in Hawai'i, UHMC SLIM will offer the 40-hour Battery-Based PV Solar Design training on five weekend days starting on June 7. This training focuses on stand alone (off-grid), grid-tied with battery backup and hybrid PV systems.
Battery-based systems begin to address some of the restrictions presently affecting the Maui grid. As this technology evolves, PV installers may increasingly turn to this solution.
The instructor for both trainings is Lyman Morikawa, principal engineer at Morikawa Associates in Pukalani. His solar projects have ranged from 3 KW to 2.8 MW systems in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional settings.
To register for this first-in-Hawai'i training, call 984-3231, or receive a 10 percent discount by registering online at edventuremaui.com. Tuition assistance through the Employment and Training Fund and other sources may be available for eligible participants.
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