Risource Takes Risk, Makes History
BY MELANIE MEI
Re-branding is considered a risky move for any business to make. So, why re-brand an already successful PV company and risk failure? Especially when you’re already at the top of your game?
Risource Energy president Darren Furumoto has heard this question a lot lately. Until May 2012, he was the head of operations at Alternate Energy — one of the most successful solar companies in Hawaii.
After an enlightening trip to Japan and many years spent following Copper-Indium-Selenium (CIS) technological growth by Solar Frontier (SF), Furumoto seized the opportunity to become the first in Hawaii, and America, to integrate SF’s CIS panels into residential installations. He’s always on the hunt for ideal, self-sustainable solutions and has found such a solution in Solar Frontier’s CIS panels.
Risource Energy has taken bold steps toward shaping the photovoltaic (PV) industry’s future in Hawaii by introducing 2nd generation, all-black, Japanese-made CIS panels in a market congested by crystalline. CIS is proven worldwide to harvest 9 percent more energy from the sun than crystalline.
The company dream is simple — to be an “ideal choice in self-sustainability.” While having a dream is important, it definitely doesn’t guarantee success. Having the right product and the man power to make it happen are key, and that’s where three unique individuals come in. Darren Furumoto, Charles Lum and Dean Wakatsuki, the photovoltaic specialists of Risource Energy, explain CIS technology:
Q: What is your educated opinion on second generation CIS panels vs. other panels on the market?
A: (Charles) I’ve worked on thousands of installations using crystalline. After working with Solar Frontier’s CIS panels, there was no going back to crystalline, especially after seeing the remarkable performance results. CIS modules by Solar frontier are the best. Hawaii deserves access to these panels.
Q. Why are Risource Energy PV systems so effective?
A: (Dean) In my 10 years as a PV tech, I learned the most common issue with PV systems is “inverter failure.” Our design philosophy of centralized inverters (SMA/Power 1) paired with Solar Frontier CIS panels allows us to overcome this. In the event that our inverters do break, they’re easily replaced. We don’t even have to go on the roof!
Q: Why risk re-branding Risource?
A: (Darren) Starting over was a tough but necessary move. When two of the most seasoned installers I’d worked with (Charles and Dean), asked to help found Risource Energy, I knew it was a well-calculated risk. Working with a quality product is rewarding and makes up for the challenge of re-branding a company. Without a strong team in place, I wouldn’t have had as much confidence starting over.
Besides a quality system, service is a priority for most customers when choosing a PV company.
The following is a testimonial from customer Linda Kaakimaka:
I got estimates from many reputable PV companies, but liked the appearance of the CIS panels. My main concern was that it was a relatively new panel. After much research, feedback and the 10-year Risource Energy service warranty — on top of the 25 year Solar Frontier warranty — I felt comfortable choosing Risource.
I now save $600-700 per month, even in winter! I account much of that to the light-soaking technology of CIS.
I never wait long for a call back from Charles; he’s fantastic and very patient, answering all questions in a timely manner.
The production of energy has been even better than we expected.
The blend of knowledge, hard work and CIS technology is likely what’s led this company to become the “No. 1 leading authorized integrator of Solar Frontier CIS modules in Hawaii and America.” Risource Energy is growing quickly and enjoying steady success as a PV company. Being a pioneer of the CIS market is not an easy endeavor, but the Risource Energy team has accepted the challenge with a smile.
Can you handle the risk of harvesting the most energy per watt possible? Make energy-saving history with Risource Energy and CIS panels!