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New battery system installed at island’s HI-5 recycling facilities

HiVE renewable energy storage units are providing safe and reliable backup power

Maui-based HiVE Energy Systems has installed the units at three HI-5 redemption centers on Maui to replace the facilities‘ failing lead-acid battery banks. The HiVE units were installed at the Kihei facility (shown here) in December, at the University of Hawaii Maui College facility earlier this year and at the Makawao facility in early November. They’re run by Aloha Recycling, which has been contracting with the county to provide the centers since 2011. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

The Maui News

New renewable energy storage systems have been installed at Maui County’s HI-5 redemption centers, most of which are not connected to the grid and depend on solar power.

Maui-based HiVE Energy Systems installed the units, which replaced the old lead-acid battery banks at three of Aloha Recycling’s four neighborhood facilities.

The new HiVE 8-kilowatt battery runs in combination with solar PV. Each HiVE battery is projected to store 16 million kWh over its lifetime. Each battery costs approximately $8,000, said Trip Lynch, marketing director for HiVE parent company HNU Energy.

Locally owned Aloha Recycling has contracted with the county since November 2011 to provide HI-5 redemption centers at the county’s neighborhood recycling locations at UH-Maui College and in Haiku, Makawao and Kihei, a recent HiVE news release said.

Kihei Recycling Center lead worker Oatman Lang stands by the facility’s new battery unit (white box) the morning of Nov. 15.

All locations but one are in areas where it is not cost-effective to connect to the grid, so they have been powered by off-grid solar PV panels, the news release said. Surplus power generated by the panels was stored in lead-acid batteries which, due to their production of potentially explosive hydrogen gas, had to be located in specially constructed safety cages outside the redemption center buildings.

The new HiVE renewable energy storage units are securely located inside each redemption center building, providing safe and reliable backup and evening power as needed, the news release said. The HiVE units were installed in the Kihei redemption center in December, in the UH-Maui College redemption center in early 2019, and soon will be installed in the Makawao redemption center.

“The lead-acid batteries at the redemption centers were failing, and I wanted to upgrade to safer energy storage systems,” said Tom Reed, owner of Aloha Recycling, who added that he “really wanted to buy from a local company.”

“I couldn’t be happier with our decision to install HiVE energy storage in our off-grid HI-5 redemption centers,” he added.

HiVE Energy Systems is a wholly owned subsidiary of HNU Energy, which draws on in-house research and development and design engineering to install residential and commercial systems of all sizes, the news release said.

Following a decade of development, HNU Energy launched HiVE in late 2016. HiVE is a fully integrated, high-voltage battery management platform designed to be compatible with any conventional high voltage inverter on the market. It incorporates lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells.