Cyanotech Expands Uses of Sun with Solar on Microalgae Farm

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Hawaii has by far the most expensive electricity in the United States. As a result, both companies and homeowners are opting to add solar to help offset these costs. This is why solar in Hawaii also has the highest grid penetration in the United States. This has been causing some problems in the state with utilities pushing back against rooftop solar, claiming it is destabilizing the grid. Despite this, residential and commercial solar are both still going strong in Hawaii.

Cyanotech Corporation, a global producer of effective, natural, microalgae nutritional supplements, is one such commercial solar customer, having announced the installation of its new solar array by Neighborhood Power Company. The 2,280 panel array sits on 1.3 acres of Cyanotech’s 90-acre microalgae farm, and is expected to produce 1,147 MWh of electricity each year. Cyanotech will purchase this power under a power purchase agreement (PPA). The expected energy production is sufficient to power the entire farm’s production during daylight hours, and will reduce Cyanotech’s electricity costs by 10%.

“Environmental stewardship is a key tenet of Cyanotech’s corporate mission,” said Gerry Cysewski, PhD., Chief Science Officer, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Cyanotech. “We are currently able to keep our carbon footprint down because our microalgae use carbon dioxide. The solar array will further reduce our greenhouse emissions and costs making it a win-win for our bottom line and the environment.”

By not using 1,147 MWh of standard petroleum based electricity, Cyanotech projects that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 791 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 167 passenger vehicles.

Cyanotech celebrated the installation of the solar array with local business and community leaders during a blessing ceremony led by Hawaiian culture expert and founder of Na Wai Iwi Ola foundation Kumu Keala Ching.

“In alignment with our corporate value of Malama Aina, Respect for our Environment, we are delighted to put the system into operation,” said Jen Johansen, Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Cyanotech.