Then and now: Alternate Energy celebrates 20 years of reliable solar service in Hawaii

In Hawaii, when we’re seeking wisdom in order to make an important decision, we turn to our kupuna. Meet Eddie and Grace Misaki. Eddie, 85, is a retired Pearl City Elementary School counselor. Grace is a retired Campbell High School secretary. Eddie enjoys golfing twice a week and works out at the Waipahu YMCA; Grace is active at Pearl City Community Church, singing in the choir and volunteering.

They have lived in their Pearl City home on Nanakai Place since 1960. Over the last few decades, they’ve seen a lot of changes in Honolulu. But according to them, one thing has stayed the same: great solar service from Alternate Energy Inc. (AEI).



Eddie first met Alternate Energy owner Bruce Ekimura in 1998, just five years after the company was founded. The Misakis had been watching their electric bill go up each month and, knowing that water heating accounts for an average of 40 percent of a family’s electric bill, they decided to make the switch to a solar hot water heater. Eddie called a few companies and decided to go with Alternate Energy because, he said, “When I talked to Bruce, I just trusted him right away.”

This was back in the day before solar PV was widely available. Originally a plumber, Bruce got his start in the ’70s working side by side with his father. Gradually, he noticed customers’ growing interest in solar water heating. Bruce became an early specialist in the installation of solar hot water heaters, and in 1993, Alternate Energy was officially incorporated.

For 15 years now, that original solar hot water heater that the Misakis installed with AEI has been tapping the sun’s energy to deliver piping hot water to the family home, with not a single disruption or problem. But last year, as electric rates kept creeping up, the retired couple decided to take the PV plunge as well. Of course they called Alternate Energy. Today they are proud owners of a new solar PV system, and Grace waits for the newly shrunken HECO bill with glee.

“When you have that trust in someone, you don’t need to worry. There’s no need to go anywhere else,” said Eddie. “I knew AEI would give us a good price and the best quality panels. And their service was terrific, from our sales rep Craig Kawamura, to the electricians to the installers. Everyone was so nice and professional.”


With the money they’re saving (about $175 per month), the Misakis can set aside a little extra for the simple pleasures in life. “We got to travel to Florida and Vegas,” Eddie said. “That’s what you want to be spending your money on in retirement. Not the electric bill!”


Meanwhile, the team at Alternate Energy continues to help Hawaii families like the Misakis with the finest solar hot water heating and PV products, installation and service. Growing slowly but surely while quietly achieving the industry’s highest recognitions and certifications over the years, the company is proud to be one of Hawaii’s oldest residential and commercial solar energy companies. It has been a Hawaii Energy conservation and efficiency program-approved independent solar water heating contractor since the program’s inception.

AEI is a full-service, fully licensed solar company with the comprehensive suite of Solar Power Systems Contractor (C-60), Solar Energy Systems Contractor (C-61) and Electrical Contractor (C-13) licenses — and licensed – journeyman plumbers and electricians are all employed by AEI (not sub-contractors). They have been recognized as the No. 1 residential solar PV installer in Hawaii, and designated as a Mitsubishi Elite Dealer and Mitsubishi Electric Certified Installer, the only PV company outside of Japan with this high honor.

“We’ve been committed to customer needs from the beginning,” said Ekimura. “It’s the foundation of our business and the reason we come to work every day. We thank our customers, vendors and staff for 20 years of support in helping Hawaii families move toward greater energy sustainability.”


Not to mention better use of their hard-earned money.

contact // 842-5853 (Oahu) • 872-9592 (Maui)
address // 96-1276 Waihona St # C124
web //

Photos courtesy of Alternate Energy Inc.