KEA‘AU, H.I. – Feb. 10, 2022 – A Kahu dressed with a traditional lei chanted before a maile lei and provided salt to participants on a sunny and clear-skied morning at Mauna Loa’s macadamia plant. This is a traditional Hawaiian blessing. In Hawaiʻi, it is common for a new business, space, or project to host a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Ancient Hawaiians understood we as people have a responsibility to care for the land. To do such, they would pay respect through cultural practices like blessings. In honoring this tradition, Mauna Loa received a warm blessing led by Kahu Kordell Kekoa to thank the ʻāina, the land, for receiving the newly installed solar farm and to protect and bring fortune on that which cares for us.
The solar farm is Mauna Loa’s new 1.2 MW solar panels and 500 kW battery storage system that will allow the plant to run on 100% renewable energy, thus decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.
Kahu Kordell began by providing guests with Hawaiian salt. Each attendee was asked to sprinkle the salt and think of a child in their lives and a dream they have for that child. As the solar farm represents a brighter future for our keiki, our children, and all the generations that will follow, the good intentions and salt made for part of our offerings. After a moment of silence, Kahu Kordell performed an oli, a chant.
Representatives from the teams responsible for bringing the solar farm to life gathered to hold a maile lei that Kahu Kordell blessed with three ti leaves. Maile lei are used at important events in Hawaiʻi and signify respect, and ti leaves are used as medicine and for cooking. Two maile lei were entwined together, then untied as a symbol of bringing life to the farm. The ti leaf use represented healing and the successful continuation of our macadamia nut production.
Kahu Kordell then bestowed each attendee with holy water sourced from the Koʻolau mountains on Oʻahu. Individually, they first touched the maile lei then the solar farm fence in an act of reverence. Attendees were tasked to remember a person who came before and honor their ingenuity that brought us to where we are today
In attendance were Mauna Loa employees, partners DSD Renewables and No Ka Oi Energy, and elected officials, Congressman Kai Kahele and Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth.
The installation will directly power 85% of Mauna Loa’s processing plant with solar energy. The addition complements existing clean energy sources at the facility, which will now be powered by 100% renewables. No Ka Oi Energy in Maui brought the project to DSD Renewables and assisted in development. DSD Renewables will be the long-term owner and manager of the solar and storage assets.
Mauna Loa values environmental sustainability, working to reduce its carbon footprint at every turn. Its Hawaiian crop of macadamias are grown with only rainwater, making the macadamia one of the most sustainable nut varieties. The company also aims to avoid waste by using the whole nut during its production process, cleanly burning the shells to create renewable energy and composting the nut husks to enrich the local community’s soil.
The future looks bright for Mauna Loa.