Published In April 2001
Parker Ranch, a 225,000-acre cattle ranch in Hawaii, and PowerLight Corp., a leading designer, manufacturer, and installer of grid-connected commercial solar electric systems, have joined in the world's largest hybrid solar-wind energy power project. Designed and managed by PowerLight, this installation on Waimean pasturelands harnesses the clean, natural energy of both the sun and the wind to deliver reliable energy at peak demand times. Incorporating advanced photovoltaic and wind technologies, Parker Ranch's hybrid installation leverages renewable energy sources around the clock to generate most of the power required for the ranch's water pumping operations. "By harnessing the natural energy of the sun and wind, Parker Ranch will be contributing to Hawaii's energy solution and conserving natural resources," said Carl A. Carlson Jr., president of Parker Ranch Inc. He added that with "this unique energy generation project, we'll realize significant cost savings in our utility bills." Covering approximately two acres, this hybrid project generates 175 kW of photovoltaic power and 50 kW of wind power. A ground-mounted system rotates the solar panels to follow the sun from east to west, generating the maximum energy possible. Five wind turbines were assembled to assist with the power generating process. On any given day, the combination of sun and wind provides enough energy to run all the pumps delivering drinking water to Parker Ranch's livestock. Money saved from reduced utility bills more than covers the amortized cost of the solar energy water-pumping system.