A donation to cool a hot classroom could be the first of its kind for a Hawaii school.
RevoluSun is donating a solar-powered air conditioning system to Kalaheo High School in Kailua. If all goes well, it would be installed at no charge, work off the grid and would not increase the power bill.
This comes at a time when Hawaii is reporting record-breaking heat. Other schools are receiving fans and the Department of Education is installing portable air conditioning units in some classrooms.
Like other schools in the state, Kaleheo High School has been unbearably hot.
Principal Susan Hummel doesn’t know exactly how hot, “but I will tell you it must be approaching the triple digits some days.”
So one of the lawmakers in that district, Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R, Kailua, Kaneohe, called locally owned company RevoluSun and asked for help.
RevoluSun agreed, offering a solar-powered air conditioner for one of the rooms at a value of $10,000.
“How does it work in terms of infrastructure? Do improvements need to be made?” KHON2 asked.
“No, there shouldn’t be any major improvements to schools or to houses where these things would be placed. A solar, off-grid air conditioning unit is a self-contained thing,” said Colin Yost with RevoluSun.
RevoluSun is also planning to donate batteries which could store power to help on cloudy days.
KHON2 asked the DOE about the donation and a spokesperson says the state is grateful, but is still working with RevoluSun on the feasibility of the system.
“We can simply put it on the roof, put panels on the roof and hook it up to the solar AC equipment and that’ll provide cooling for the classroom,” Yost said.
The DOE has said it’s working vigorously to address the heat situation in schools, and bought portable ACs and delivered fans.
“Do you think that’s a good idea or they should spend their money someplace else?” KHON2 asked.
“I think the better idea is to spend money on standalone systems that don’t add money to the utility bill for that school,” Rep. Thielen said.
“I’m hopeful that maybe through this pilot, there might be more knowledge gained and hey, who knows, maybe some more systems that might be coming to the schools in Hawaii,” Hummel said.
RevoluSun will visit Kalaheo on Tuesday to take a look at the site and determine which class might receive the AC.
The company will also meet with the DOE later to go over details. If it works out, RevoluSun says it could install the system within a month.