Mauna Lani Resort Powers 30% of its Electricity Requirements with SunPower

These clean, reliable solar generation systems make sense both for our operating budget and the environment. We project significant financial savings over the next 30 years, while keeping true to Mauna Lani’s vision of preserving our beautiful land.

– Kurt Matsumoto, Vice President/Corporate Controller, Mauna Lani Resort, Inc.


The Mauna Lani Resort and its affiliated companies are wholly owned subsidiaries of Tokyu Corporation of Japan. Widely recognized as a pace-setter in historic preservation and stewardship of the land, the Mauna Lani beckons visitors with its unparalleled natural beauty.


The Mauna Lani is located on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii, an island where electrical power is generated primarily by burning diesel fuel. Owing to its location, Hawaii is confronted with electricity rates that are among the highest in the United States. The Mauna Lani sought ways to reduce operating costs and avert the risk of future fuel price volatility, as well contribute to Hawaii’s sustainability and environmental preservation.


Since the mid-1990s, executives at the Mauna Lani Resort have evaluated and implemented a broad range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The Resort installed its first solar electric system atop the hotel roof in May 1998. By June2003, the Mauna Lani Resort had installed seven photovoltaic systems totaling over 674 kW of solar electric power, making the Mauna Lani the largest solar-powered resort in the world.

The photovoltaic projects at the resort include: three solar rooftop systems on the hotel,a rooftop system on the Golf Facilities Building, 162 solar-powered golf carts, a ground-mounted solar tracking system and the world’s only solar-powered Watsu massage spa. Built into a lava tube, the Watsu spa provides a serene location for water massage. The water is heated by a canopy made of photovoltaic panels. In addition to the solar electric systems installed on the Ballroom and Maintenance building, the project included a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit of the hotel building, acentral plant retrofit, a facility-wide lighting retrofit and solar thermal pool heating.

By embracing renewable solar technology to generate clean reliable power, the Mauna Lani is significantly reducing its operating costs and helping to preserve Hawaii’s natural beauty. The solar tracking system maximizes the sun’s available energy by capturing 30% more sunlight that fixed arrays, as the panels follow the sun. Additionally, the SunCaddy car saves the energy recharging equivalent of 12 barrels of oil or 2,200 pounds of coal over a conventional car’s life, providing substantial air quality battery consumption by 33%.

Project Overview

System Type:    Rooftop System
Date Completed:    May 1998/June 2003
System Peak Capacity:    217 kW
PV Surface Area:    19,000 square feet
Products:    SunPower PowerGuard®

System Type:    Rooftop System
Date Completed:    December 1998
System Peak Capacity:    140 kW
PV Surface Area:    14,000 square feet

System Type:    SunPower® T0 Tracker
Date Completed:    January 2002
System Peak Capacity:    288 kW
PV Surface Area:    3 acres

System Type:    Solar Electric Canopy
Date Completed:    August 2003
System Peak Capacity:    6 kW
System Type:    SunCaddy Golf Golf Car Canopies
Date Completed:    2001-2002
System Size:    162 Golf Car Canopies
System Peak Capacity:    23 kW


By investing in on-site solar generation and energy efficiency, the Mauna Lani anticipates significant financial savings due to the comprehensive nature of the project. The rooftop systems provide over 30% of the hotel’s electrical requirements, and the systems at the golf facilities provide 100% of the daytime energy requirements for water pumping needs as well as charging the golf carts. SunPower’s PowerGuard rooftop system also reduces the hotel’s operating expenses by lowering air conditioning requirements and extending the roof’s life.

The Mauna Lani’s solar installations spare the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Over the next 30 years, the solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 2,700 tons. These environmental savings are equivalent to planting over 765 acres of trees or not driving 6.8 million miles on the roadways of Hawaii.