Blog Post

SimpliPhi and Haleakala Solar Bring Solar + Storage Air Conditioning Systems to Classrooms in Hawaii

Waialua High & Intermediate School receives safe, renewably-powered cooling for students

Las Vegas, SOLAR POWER INTERNATIONAL – August 29, 2017 – Students at Hawaii’s Waialua High and Intermediate on the island of O’ahu are returning to school this year to solar PV and energy storage-powered air conditioned classrooms from project partners SimpliPhi PowerHaleakala Solar and Ameresco Solar. As part of the statewide Heat Abatement Program, schools can receive hybrid solar air conditioning units and implement other cooling strategies to bring relief to students currently enduring sweltering educational environments that can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and make learning a challenge. The solution for classroom AC powered by solar and energy storage removes previous cost barriers for schools that were faced with traditional grid-tied cooling costs totaling nearly $1.7 billion. To their credit, the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) began piloting innovative hybrid off-grid photovoltaic + battery air conditioning systems because estimates for this solution reduced costs significantly to approximately $140 million. Waialua High and Intermediate is one of the first schools to receive these innovative units.

SimpliPhi CEO Catherine Von Burg commented, “The HIDOE is to be commended for their forward thinking about installing hybrid off-grid AC systems to create more sustainable, less expensive solutions for the immediate needs and future well being of its schools and students. We are thrilled our PHI batteries play a role in enabling these innovative AC systems and that they demonstrate distributed solar + battery solutions can be more cost effective than centralized solutions. Our batteries are deployed in some of the harshest environments on the planet like the rugged front lines with the Department of Defense. We have a zero failure rate that is typically caused by the overheating, thermal runaway and fires that are associated with cobalt-based lithium-ion batteries. We have eliminated cobalt in our lithium ferrous phosphate chemistry and utilize a proprietary architecture to get the highest safety, efficiency and longest cycle life from our PHI batteries. This is even more critical when we are talking about hybrid off-grid solar generation in which every kWh harvested is precious and systems are installed within five feet of the closest student.

Richard Dean, senior account executive for Ameresco Solar, a leading independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, commented, “We designed a modular cabinet and energy production system housing power generation and storage technologies to be located right next to the electrical load for these schools projects, with one to two classrooms running off one cabinet. This is a major cost advantage over a centralized system, as is the power system’s ability to expand as future energy needs change. Using non-toxic SimpliPhi energy storage is essential as we can simply add more batteries in the system without duplicating other design or equipment elements, unlike with the other storage options available on the market.”

Each of the 21 cabinets located at the school is built to house seven or ten SimpliPhi PHI 3.4kWh batteries as part of a hybrid, solar powered off-grid system for two or four ton air conditioners, respectively. The systems are designed to hold up to 16 batteries to streamline future expansion.

“Bringing sustainable cooling relief to students in Hawaii was a problem we knew required innovation on several levels, including how to manage the up front and long-term costs of these systems and how to work with the limited electrical infrastructure on these campuses. With solar saturation on Hawaii’s electrical grid, integrating energy storage to create a hybrid off-grid system was essential to getting these systems online faster for these students in need,” said Jim Whitcomb, founder of Haleakala Solar, a major solar integrator in Hawaii with over 14,000 solar systems installed on the Islands. “Our decades of experience have shown us that not all batteries are created equal. Indoor real estate at these schools to house batteries is next-to-none, so we absolutely needed a battery that is proven to be reliable and safe when installed outdoors in the full Hawaiian sun – without the hassle of adding separate AC or cooling mitigation.”

In addition to this first project being installed in Waialua, the partner companies have another 1.4 MWh of SimpliPhi storage lined up for school AC projects across Hawaii. To read more about the Waialua High and Intermediate School project, follow the link to the SimpliPhi case study here:

SimpliPhi has over six years of experience creating non-toxic, safe energy storage solutions for schools needing critical power to create an environment that is conducive to learning. The company has announced a crowdfunding campaign to bring sustainable energy storage to students on remote Fiji Islands. In partnership with the nonprofit Its Time Foundation, SimpliPhi has committed $40,000 with a 1:1 matching campaign toward an $80,000 goal to help accelerate adoption of sustainable energy solutions for 200 schoolchildren. Donations can be made at

Visit SimpliPhi Power at Solar Power International in Las Vegas September 11-13 at booth #1829 to hear more about how SimpliPhi is creating a collective force to make a significant difference to all Fiji Island children.

About Haleakala Solar

Since 1977, Haleakala Solar has been installing quality solar systems on all islands in Hawaii. The company provides design, engineering, financing, installation, and service for all of its systems. With the large number of solar companies that have gone out of business, Haleakala now services any and all solar systems including those installed by other companies. After 40 years of quality service the company is one of the few who can back up a 25 year warranty.

About SimpliPhi Power

Founded in 2002 as LibertyPak/Optimized Energy Storage, SimpliPhi Power designs and manufactures efficient, non-toxic and enduring energy storage and management systems that utilize lithium ferro phosphate (LFP). Based in Ojai, California, SimpliPhi combines the non-hazardous LFP energy storage chemistry with its proprietary cell and battery architecture, power electronics, Battery Management System (BMS) and assembly methods to create safe, reliable, durable and highly scalable on-demand power solutions for the residential, commercial, military, emergency response and film industries. Integral to all SimpliPhi Power solutions is a proprietary management system that further optimizes the life-cycle, performance and durability of its batteries. SimpliPhi Power storage system components are UL certified and have been rigorously tested and passed requirements by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. For more information, please visit and follow us @SimpliPhiPower or Facebook and LinkedIn.