New solar panels to slash Damien’s electricity costs in half

Damien Memorial School

Damien Memorial School has gone solar.

The school held a “switch-on” ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the installation of its new photovoltaic system, which consists of more than 300 panels on two classroom buildings.

The system is expected to cut the school’s electricity bill roughly in half, saving $25,000 in its first year, $33,000 in its second year and $1.5 million over two decades.

“This helps to keep our tuition affordable, keep our operating cost much more moderate,” said Bernard Ho, the school’s president and CEO. “Hawaii is a prime location and this school is situated in an area that gets lots of sunlight. The rooftop makes it very much efficient for us to have solar panels and we’re just so happy with this project.”

The system was funded entirely by a couple from Maui and installed for free by Energy Industries Corp.

Duane Ashimine, the company’s president and COO, is a 1982 Damien graduate.

“It increases the energy production, but it also increases the insulation level of the roof, so we’re actually cooling the classrooms to a greater degree,” he said.

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