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AES Hawaiʻi has donated nearly $55,000 to the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation to endow a scholarship for students at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu interested in pursuing careers in sustainability and climate solutions.

The AES Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu Solar Endowed Scholarship supports students at UH West Oʻahu who have an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and/or math), sustainability, climate change and renewable energy, with a focus on graduates of public high schools in West Oʻahu, including Campbell High School, Kapolei High School, Nānākuli High School, Waiʻanae High School and Waipahu High School.

The donation celebrates AES Hawaiʻi’s West Oʻahu Solar plus Storage project near the campus, which begins operations later this year. This project will provide 12.5 MWac solar photovoltaic power and 50 MWh of battery energy storage capacity to Hawaiian Electric Company’s grid.

“This gift from AES Hawaiʻi is an investment in education for our current and future local students, while the solar energy project will have a direct impact on the future of our campus and our community,” said UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham. “We’re grateful for contributions AES Hawaiʻi has made to building a sustainable future for our UH West Oʻahu.”

The gift complements the company’s West Oʻahu Solar Plus Storage Project, located on 66 acres of mauka land leased from UH West Oʻahu. The project also demonstrates how solar and sustainable agricultural land uses can co-exist, as the same land will be used for cattle grazing and beekeeping.

“We are proud to support the educational commitment of UH West Oʻahu with this endowed scholarship that will inspire college students each year to make a lasting impact in leading Hawaiʻi’s sustainability future,” said Sandra Larsen, AES Hawaiʻi market business leader. “Promoting education and protecting the environment are two major areas of focus for AES Hawaiʻi. This partnership with UH West Oʻahu and the impending launch of our West Oʻahu solar facility exemplifies our dedication to doing what’s best in the communities where we operate.”

In 2015, UH and the Hawaiʻi Legislature established a collective goal for the university system to be net-zero by 2035, meaning the system would produce as much renewable energy as it consumes across its 10 campuses.

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