In support of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030, the state of Hawaii has committed to producing by 2045 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
Already today on the island of Kauai, one of the seven inhabited islands in the northwest of the Hawaiian archipelago (about 70000 inhabitants), there is a solar power plant which with its 77.000 panels produces at least 10% of the energy needed by the island, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The plant, operated by the NGO Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), during the sunniest time of day is likely to meet 100% of Kauai's daytime energy needs, while for the 4-hour peak evening demand, there relies on the energy stored in the batteries.
But the real innovation of this solar plant is the way in which the problem of lack of space in all Hawaii where a population of 1,4 million residents compete for land with farmers, tourism and industry. Here, however, a partnership between a local sheep farmer and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, is instead demonstrating how companies competing for local resources can have mutually beneficial relationships.
Darryl Kaneshiro's 350 sheep graze the grass that grows between the solar panels and that otherwise would hinder their productivity. The breeder won the contract by winning on a company that instead wanted to eliminate the grass with the machines, finding a more efficient and sustainable way for the environment.