Honolulu: A Powerful Experience

Photo: Top of Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

I was recently in Hawaii for my honeymoon with my dear, darling wife. Being an electrical engineering student I got thinking about how Hawaii would actually end up getting their electricity. Being a remote island would give some interesting

When my plane was landing in Honolulu International Airport I was able to see something not that shocking; hundreds if not thousand of solar panels on building everywhere. Both residential and commercial building were completely loaded with solar panels. Being in a sunny tropical location I was less than surprised.

Once we had gotten all settled in to our hotel I decided to start looking at what options the islands had except for solar. I was expecting maybe some geothermal since they are a volcano-ridden island. My expectation of their main power source was nuclear. Some research showed me that they are getting the majority of their power from petroleum (+80%) but have more and more solar being developed as time goes on.

It wasn't until I was in my Uber on my way to the airport that I found out out just how effective solar power is for the Hawaiians. I was talking to my driver about a variety of things but the most interesting to me was the discussion on solar power.

Solar seemed to be the way for Hawaiians to nearly go off the grid. I don't remember the company name but the driver explained that they restricted the number of customers able to get solar panels installed. Apparently people were having power bills go from hundreds of dollars to tens of dollars. I can understand the perspective of the company needing to maintain profits but at the same time it is rather outrageous to burn petroleum when people are willing to pay for solar panels.

Solar power isn't my favorite source of renewable energy but in a place like Hawaii it is very feasible. I will remain a fan of nuclear power until solar and other renewable energies become dramatically better but they are a good start. Batteries continue to improve and the efficiency of the renewable energy systems continue to improve as well. Green power is becoming more and more feasible with every coming day.


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