KEA‘AU, H.I. – Hawaiian Host Group and DSD Renewables (DSD) proudly announce the completion of a 1.2 MW solar farm and 500 kW battery storage system for Mauna Loa, one of the world’s leading macadamia nut brands. The installation will directly power 85% of Mauna Loa’s processing plant in Kea‘au, Hawai‘i with solar energy. The addition complements existing clean energy sources at the facility, which will now be powered by 100% renewables.
As the largest operating PV project dedicated to a private company in Hawai‘i, the system is expected to generate 1.55 million kWh of solar energy annually, avoiding over 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year. The solar installation, completed in partnership with No Ka Oi Energy, includes 2,916 solar panels laid out across three acres on Mauna Loa’s macadamia nut farm.
“Hawaiian Host Group’s purpose is to make the Islands’ future flourish, and partnering with DSD has allowed us to fulfill a large portion of our vision for a clean energy future,” says Ed Schultz, President & CEO of Hawaiian Host Group, the parent company of Mauna Loa. “This project nicely complements Mauna Loa’s on-site water and wastewater system, and with the addition of the renewable power system, our Kea‘au facility can now be 100% self-sustained. We will continue to learn and take action to minimize our environmental impact as much as possible and care for our ʻāina (land).”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and traditional Hawaiian blessing for the project took place on Thursday, February 10. In attendance were elected officials such as Congressman Kai Kahele and Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth. “This is an epic moment in the history of the company and I applaud Hawaiian Host Group for their commitment to malama ʻāina” said Congressman Kahele. Mayor Roth followed by sharing that “We need to have brands like Mauna Loa that are stepping up to be an example — not just to Hawaiʻi, but to the rest of the world.”
Mauna Loa values environmental sustainability, working to reduce its carbon footprint at every turn. Its Hawaiian crop of macadamias are grown with only rainwater, making the macadamia one of the most sustainable nut varieties. The company also aims to avoid waste by using the whole nut during its production process, cleanly burning the shells to create renewable energy and composting the nut husks to enrich the local community’s soil.
“Hawaiian Host Group’s sustainable vision and leadership made the Mauna Loa project a great opportunity for DSD to apply our expertise in solar and storage development,” says DSD Chief Commercial Officer Eric Pollock. “It’s exciting to be a part of this momentous project and we’re happy to play a part in helping Mauna Loa further reduce its environmental footprint.”
No Ka Oi Energy in Maui brought the project to DSD and assisted in development. DSD will be the long-term owner and manager of the solar and storage assets. “We are proud to be working toward increasing clean, renewable energy at such an important site on our island,” says Glenn Yamasaki, President of No Ka Oi Energy. “DSD’s design and implementation have created a world-class solar installation right here in Kea‘au.”
Photos by Hanalē Lee Loy, Katie Natori, and Stijn Spaas
Director of Global Marketing
Hawaiian Host Group
Director of Corporate Brand Strategy
No Ka Oi
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Gregory FCA for DSD