Solar panels not being used for energy-efficient library

The new Aiea Public Library was touted as a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient building, but it may not be as “green” as the state says.

The library opened nine months ago and was built with the environment in mind, including 6,000 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels, which are not being used.

So when can we expect solar panels to be activated? That’s still the question mark.

“I think we kind of knew that there was going to be delays because what was happening at the neighboring sites, but the application was turned in prior to us even putting in the installation of the PV panels on the library,” said Keith Fujio, special assistant to the state librarian.

In a statement, Hawaiian Electric Company spokesman Darren Pai said, “In this case, the PV system was designed and construction had started before an application was submitted and the necessary technical review was performed.”

HECO also said a review found that the PV system needs additional equipment before it can be safely interconnected.

“We are continuing to negotiate or work with HECO to get our application approved and we don’t have the whole list of all the requirements yet,” said Fujio.

The Aiea Public Library cost more than $10.4 million to build.

As of now, there’s no set date of when the solar panels will be hooked up.

“We feel pretty confident we’re getting pretty close,” said Fujio. “I don’t have the total laundry list of all the requirements we’re expected to do before getting approval, but I think we are pretty close.”

State library officials say the new Nanakuli library will also have PV panels.

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