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State solar power efforts get federal cash

The U.S. Department of Energy is giving Hawaii more than $6.8 million in grants to fund two solar power projects.

Some $6.1 million of the money is going to the University of Hawaii to develop and demonstrate two smart grid photovoltaic inverter devices.

The remaining $750,000 will help the state Public Utilities Commission set standards to resolve grid-reliability issues and to integrate renewable resources, specifically solar, into the state’s energy mix.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement Thursday that renewable energy is critical to sustaining the economy. He said the grants will help Hawaii get closer to achieving its energy goals.

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