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Golf course installs solar array

The Pukalani Country Club has installed 455 solar panels to generate energy that amounts to about half of the power used by the golf course. • Pukalani Country Club photo

The Pukalani Country Club has put up 455 solar panels that can generate 220-megawatt hours of power for the Maui Electric Co. grid, the golf course general manager said.

Ron Huffman, the country club’s general manager, said Tuesday that MECO changed out the meters May 17 for the solar project. Rising Sun Solar did the installation with work beginning in November.

The project cost more than $500,000, said Huffman. The system hooks into the MECO grid under the old net-metering program, where energy not immediately used is sent to the grid and credited to the account. The net metering program has been discontinued.

Huffman said that the system will cut the country club’s energy costs in half. A 100-kilowatt meter was installed, MECO’s largest, so the system installed was the max the meter could handle.

Power is the country club’s No. 2 expense, behind payroll, Huffman said. About half of the power needs are for a deep well pump that draws water up 1,200 feet for irrigating the 150 acres of golf course.

The solar panels are at the lowest part of the course, out of view for most, and likely out of range of errant golf balls, Huffman said.

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