This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 30, 2002

Hawaii Resort Dedicates 250-Kilowatt Solar Power System

The Mauni Lani Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii dedicated its new 250-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system last week. The sun-tracking system was manufactured and installed by PowerLight Corporation. The installation brings the resort's total solar power capacity to 500 kilowatts, which PowerLight claims as the most solar electric generating capacity of any resort in the world. The resort projects savings of $5 million over the next 25 years by using solar power. See the PowerLight press release.

Part of the resort's solar generating capacity is actually on the move — it's a fleet of solar-powered golf carts. A photovoltaic canopy on each cart helps keep its battery charged, significantly reducing the resort's use of grid power to recharge the carts. PowerLight just delivered 60 of the carts to the resort, which plans to convert its entire fleet to solar power by the end of 2003. See the PowerLight press release.

The demand for solar power systems grew significantly in 2001. At California's Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), for example, nearly 1,200 kilowatts of solar generating capacity was installed on more than 220 homes and business in 2001 — nearly seven times more than the utility installed in 2000. That growth spurt helped SMUD to achieve a total solar capacity of 10 megawatts, spread over more than 1,000 solar power systems that were installed through the utility's Solar Pioneers program. SMUD expects the program to continue growing rapidly in 2002; to meet the demand, the utility has tripled the number of staff and contractors working on the program. See the SMUD press release.