St. Theresa’s school – and its students – will soon begin to see the benefits of a renewable energy project that was funded through the Kekaha Host Community Benefits (HCB) program.

A photovoltaic (PV) array has been installed on the school’s roof at a cost of approximately $55,000, courtesy of a grant that was recommended by the HCB Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and approved by the Mayor in May of 2012.  A blessing was held Wednesday at the school to mark the completion of the PV installation.

The 15 kilowatt system is estimated to generate 75 % of the school’s energy needs, according to project manager Matthew Taeza.  Five local PV contractors were invited to bid on the project, and the school chose AR Construction Services, LLC as its contractor.  The PV system will also provide learning opportunities for the students, who will monitor its energy production and consumption in the school’s computer classroom.

“This is the first school on the west side to have an energy-saving solar photovoltaic system installed on its campus,” stated Mary Buza-Sims, Principal of St. Theresa’s.  “We send a big MAHALO NUI to the CAC, the County of Kaua‘i, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, and AR Construction.  This is certainly a community effort and we could not have done this without everyone’s Mānā`o and kōkua.”

One of the conditions of the grant is that the first $55,000 in energy savings must be provided back to students from Kekaha in the form of scholarships.

“This is a great example of how the HCB program is working for the Kekaha community,” stated Mayor Bernard P. Cavalho,Jr., who attended the blessing.  “The members of the CAC and the leadership of St. Theresa’s are to be commended for putting these funds to such good use.”

The Kekaha HCB CAC has awarded eight (8) grants for a total of $914,000 since its inception in March 2009.  More grant funds are slated to be awarded next year through a competitive process that will begin in the first quarter of 2014.  For more information on the Kekaha HCB program, visit their website at, or contact facilitator Yvonne Hosaka at (808) 645-1185.

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