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Residents Get Renewable Energy Certification

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Photo courtesy of Ho’ahu Energy Cooperative.

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. 

“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 hoahuenergy.coop or email workforce@hoahuenergy.coop.


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