The Green Leaf

Solar-powered nuts

July 12th, 2012
Island Princess harvests macadamia nuts from its 1,100-acre orchard at Keaau on the Big Island. Courtesy photo.

Island Princess harvests macadamia nuts from its 1,100-acre orchard at Keaau on the Big Island. Courtesy photo.

The Island Princess Macadamia Nut Company plans to install a 121-kilowatt (KW) solar photovoltaic system this summer at its orchard on the Big Island. Sunetric is installing the system.

The fixed, ground-mount system will be used to power Island Princess' macadamia nut processing facility on the company's 1,100-acre orchard at Keaau on the Big Island. The orchard, home to 110,000 macadamia nut trees, also uses sustainable soil management and pruning techniques.

The new solar PV array should generate 14,730 kilowatt-hours or energy per month, offsetting about 86 percent of the processing facility's electricity, which is used to slow-dry, crack, sort and roast nearly 30,000 pounds of macadamia nuts a day. Peak harvesting season is from August to March.

That results in nearly $62,000 in savings a year (and keeps 288 barrels of oil from being imported to Hawaii).

That's something to think about while munching Island Princess' macadamia nut caramel popcorn, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, honey roasted macadamia nuts and more.

Island Princess joins other businesses that including Costco Kailua-Kona, Wal-Mart, Kona Commons, Y. Hata, Tori Richard and others in going solar.

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