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Residents Get Renewable Energy Certification

MOLOKAI DISPATCH – Locally-run Ho’ahu Energy Cooperative Molokai held an inaugural Clean Energy Technician Training this spring, with 14 Molokai residents graduating with certification. The five-week course covered an introduction to photovoltaic energy, with a 40 hours of hands on build time during which students received on-site experience and skills building nanogrids, or small scale solar systems. 

Photo courtesy of Ho’ahu Energy Cooperative.

“The state has a goal to transition to 100 percent renewables by 2045 and Molokai still has almost the entire way to go,” said Todd Yamashita, board president of Ho’ahu Energy Coop and instructor for the course. “What we’re doing here is helping ourselves and getting ready for this transition so that it will be our Molokai people who will benefit from these jobs. Because of our isolation, having to fly crews in for installations makes everything in the renewable space much more costly for us than anywhere else. So having our Molokai people trained and job ready is a must.”

Students were also trained in first aid, CRP and a 10-hour OSHA course for safety in the workplace. Ho’ahu staff say the newly-certified graduates will be eligible for internships with the cooperative, employment with renewable energy contractors, installing solar for their own home usage and entrepreneurial efforts. 

A graduation ceremony was held on May 27. 

“I really want to give a ton of credit to this program to our program coordinator Liliana Napoleon,” added Yamashita. “Through her efforts, we’ve partnered with Maui County and Makaha Learning Center to roll out this nationally certified program in less than a year.”

The training is offered free of charge to Molokai residents ages 18 and older. 

“The renewable energy skills, experience, and networking along with access toward employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for our graduates are endless,” said Napoleon.  

If you are interested in Ho’ahu’s upcoming renewable energy trainings and workforce opportunities, visit their website at or email


Moloka‘i Clean Energy Cooperative Selected To Receive Federal Support

Department Of Energy To Provide Expert Assistance To Support Moloka‘i’s Community-Developed Clean Energy Goals; Clean Energy Co-op In Running To Compete For Additional Federal Resources

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today announced that Ho‘āhu Energy Cooperative Moloka‘i, a local group developing Moloka‘i’s first community-owned renewable energy resource project, will receive federal support, including technical assistance, from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

“This kind of hands-on federal support will help us expand clean energy production on Moloka‘i as the community moves to take its energy future into its own hands. That means more jobs, more reliable energy, and cheaper electric bills for Moloka‘i residents,” said Senator Schatz.

Ho‘āhu Energy Cooperative Moloka‘i will receive tailored expert support from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a DOE National Lab, to address the island’s unique energy challenges. During this first phase of the initiative, Ho‘āhu Energy Cooperative Moloka‘i will receive one-on-one assistance from PNNL, including training, energy and economic analysis, workforce and equity assessments, and grant application assistance. The program also aims to help participating communities develop a network of experts that can serve as a valuable resource even after the technical assistance phase ends. Technical assistance will take place over a ten-month timeframe extending to the end of 2022. After that, Ho‘āhu Energy Cooperative Moloka‘i may advance to a second phase of assistance, which will involve engineering and budgetary guidance and other technical support for project deployment.

“Molokai, which is 60 percent Hawaiian by population, is challenged with energy rates nearly 400 percent higher than the national average,” said Todd Yamashita, president of Ho‘āhu Energy Cooperative Moloka‘i. “We are excited about this opportunity because it’s helping us create, on our own terms, an energy future that is reflective of the resilient and resourceful nature of our people.”

The federal support is part of a DOE initiative designed to support communities that experience problems with their energy systems. It aims to mitigate energy access, affordability, and reliability challenges by helping those communities design energy storage solutions.