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Nonprofit recognizes HECO for solar energy expansion

    Hawaiian Electric Co. and the Electric Power Research Institute have built a prototype solar charging station and carport for electric vehicles. The structure will help HECO determine the impact of vehicle charging on electrical grids.

A nonprofit alternative energy advocate has recognized Hawaiian Electric Co. for the utility’s work to add more solar energy to its electrical generation network.

The San Francisco-based Vote Solar Initiative recently name HECO one of its two “Solar Champion Award” winners for 2013. The group cited the nearly 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic generating capacity added last year by HECO customers and independent power producers in Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii counties.

“This rate of growth brings many economic and environmental benefits, but also presents new challenges to a grid not originally designed with distributed generation in mind,” according to a news release from the group.

The other winner of the 2013 Solar Champion Award was Tom Steyer, a co-founder of a California think tank that successfully defended the state’s carbon-cap-and-trade program.

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