Photovoltaic Test Beds in the Micro-Climates of Hawaii

This Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) project is being funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The objectives include planning, designing, and implementing a series of photovoltaic (PV) test beds for interconnection with various electric utilities in the State of Hawaii. Furthermore, HNEI will monitor the PV arrays installed in different micro-climate areas for performance, response to environmental changes, and interaction with the associated electric grid. In addition to HNEI, project partners include the Hawai‘i Electric Light Company (HELCO), ONR, and DOE. The initial effort is on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, but the intention is to utilize the monitoring results for application by other utilities on O‘ahu, Maui, and Kauai.

The primary HNEI contacts for this project are Richard Rocheleau and Larry Cutshaw. For more information concerning the project, see the PV Test Beds in the Micro-Climates of Hawaii pdf document. There are several other HNEI projects involving grid management efforts and for details see the Energy Storage, Grid Systems, and Hydrogen research sections of our website.


The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) has been involved for many years in research aimed at utilization of solar energy for the production of electricity and for the direct conversion of solar energy for production of hydrogen. Using the sun for electricity generation and subsequent production of hydrogen is one possibility under HNEI’s Hawai‘i Hydrogen Power Park. With respect to solar hydrogen production work, HNEI has two patents covering photoelectrochemical production of hydrogen; these efforts have been carried out in HNEI’s Thin Films Laboratory. For more information on direct production of hydrogen, see the Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Production (overview) section of our website.

More recently, the Institute has been the lead agency for specialized projects involving photovoltaic (PV) arrays and projects with a number of PV system installations or for the instrumentation of such facilities, with subsequent monitoring and analysis work. There are two specialized projects with PV systems as important elements. One of these involves energy efficiency research with a PV array as a renewable energy source and the other addresses use of smart grid inverters for mitigating impacts on grids from high penetration of PV systems. 

For activity details concerning the above research arenas, click on the following items:

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