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Red Cross goes solar at its Diamond Head facility

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Officials from the American Red Cross’ Hawaii Chapter say they expect to save $500,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years with the installation of a solar energy system at the organization’s Diamond Head facility.

The Red Cross used corporate donations and federal stimulus funds to pay for the $309,000 photovoltaic system, which will generate an estimated 45 percent of the nonprofit’s energy needs.

Red Cross officials chose to own the PV system rather than  install it under a power purchase agreement — a financing option that has become the choice of many nonprofits switching to solar power. Under a PPA a third party owns the PV system and sells the electricity back to the customer at a favorable rate. PPAs allow PV customers to enjoy the benefits of lower-cost energy without paying the upfront costs.

“Instead of locking in a lower rate for energy costs through a PPA, we wanted to completely own the system and eliminate as much of our power cost as possible,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter. “Now we can use the money that would have paid for electricity, to go toward our mission of saving lives and giving hope to those in need.”

The system was designed and installed by Honolulu-based RevoluSun.

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