With our state’s skyrocketing electricity rates, installing a PV (photo-voltaic) system in Hawaii makes more sense than ever. It can cost as little as $5,000 after government credits and pay for itself in about five years.

But the red-hot solar energy market also means there are dozens of new solar companies jumping on the bandwagon. Our kamaaina families can be faced with a lot of choices. Homeowners who educate themselves before investing will enjoy reliable energy savings for generations to come.


The pros at Alternate Energy, Hawaii’s locally owned, family-operated solar energy provider since 1993, offer these tips to consider before you buy:

• Ask if the provider employs its installers. If something goes wrong two years down the road, you don’t want your provider passing the buck to a sub-contractor.

• Insist on a reputable solar panel manufacturer. There are dozens of new brands jumping on the bandwagon. You are making an investment that should last decades. Will the manufacturer be around to honor its warranty? Alternate Energy is a certified Mitsubishi Installer.


• Hot-water heating can account for up to 40 percent of a family’s energy bill. No one should consider PV without first investing in a solar hot-water heater — otherwise you’ll find yourself buying more panels than you need.

• Hire a full-service, licensed solar company with a C-60 Solar Power Systems Contractor license. This means the provider has passed rigorous testing and has the necessary experience with solar, roof work, hook-ups and permitting to do a top-notch job.

A long local track record and valid solar contractor’s license are the hallmarks of a reputable company. Alternate Energy’s owner and founder, Bruce Ekimura, holds a Journeyman Plumber license and a Hawaii Solar Power Systems Contractor license, which covers both solar water heating and photovoltaic systems. This license is rare in the business; many solar contractors hold only a solar water heating license. Bruce and his team have been solar energy experts in Hawaii since the 1970s.


Look for NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certification. Darren Furumoto, operations manager and lead installer at Alternate Energy Inc., has earned the industry’s leading recognition of expertise as a certified installer of solar electric systems (PV systems) from the NABCEP. NABCEP is considered to be the gold standard of certification in the renewable energy industry. Call 842-5853 for more information.

ADDRESS: 96-1276 WAIHONA ST., C124
CONTACT: 842-5853
WEBSITE: www.AlternateEnergyHawaii.com