With all the different advertising bombarding us every day, good old-fashioned word-of-mouth has become more powerful than ever. Especially with a major purchase like solar PV, a positive recommendation from someone you trust can be more valuable than all the slick advertisements money can buy.

Alternate Energy Inc. (AEI) would like you to meet Mark Ward, a police officer with the Honolulu Police Department, Radford High School graduate, and husband and father of two. After 30 years on the force, Mark recently retired as captain of the Wahiawa Police Station. The prospect of his now fixed income being gobbled up by Hawaii’s ever-increasing electricity rates was enough to get him thinking seriously about solar.

Just as he did on the force, Mark left no stone unturned as he researched the project. He did his homework and invited representatives from five different solar companies to meet with him. As Mark recalls, Alternate Energy’s Dave Thompson was the third or fourth representative to visit. “He was very professional, polite and knowledgeable. Of all the guys I talked to, he never bad-mouthed any of the competition. He didn’t rush us, but spent as much time my wife and I needed to get all the right information for our system,” he said.


Mark was also impressed with AEI’s close partnership with Mitsubishi Electric. “The more I researched it, the more I knew we wanted to go with Mitsubishi panels,” he said. “They are a well-respected, quality brand with a long track record as a leader and innovator in electronics. I know they’re the best, and they’re going to be around for a long time to come.” AEI is Hawaii’s only Mitsubishi Elite Dealer, exclusively qualified to sell and service the premium panels.

Mark says the system design and installation process was equally positive. “AEI’s crews were unbelievable. Very professional and friendly. I had some specific ideas as to how I wanted the system laid out on my roof. AEI’s engineers came and worked with me — they really listened and we came up with a great plan.” At each step in the process, Mark recalls, “I never heard the word ‘no.’ No matter what it was — from how I wanted the conduits to run, to my request for specific types of material to our unique needs for financing — there was always trust and respect and they just made it work.”

One instance in particular really stands out for Mark. The crews had been running conduits in the attic all day. Several days later, Mark’s wife realized that a rarely-used electrical switch in the dining room didn’t seem to be working. Mark sent Dave Thompson a text message at 11 p.m., and the next day, AEI’s own director of operations, Ladd Tsuda, showed up to personally troubleshoot. AEI’s crews rewired the dining room and several other little-used outlets they determined to be bad. “There was no way to prove that it wasn’t a preexisting problem,” Mark said. “Frankly, the outlets could have been bad long before AEI started work. But they never even questioned it. And they refused to let me pay for the work. Customer service is clearly number one with these guys. They don’t just talk it, they live it.”

Now, with 32 high-efficiency Mitsubishi panels on his roof harnessing the sun’s energy, Mark’s electric bill has plummeted from $350 per month to just $17. He considers his solar investment with AEI one of the smartest moves he’s ever made. “I always used to say this on the force,” he said. “After all the talk is over, when the rubber hits the road, that’s when you really know what you’re dealing with. As far as I’m concerned, these guys are the greatest.”

Founded in 1993 as one of Hawaii’s oldest kamaaina solar companies, Alternate Energy Inc. thanks its customers, vendors and staff for 20 wonderful years helping Hawaii move toward greater energy independence.

contact // 842-5853 (Oahu) • 872-9592 (Maui)
address // 803 Ahua St.
web // www.alternateenergyhawaii.com