Alternate Energy Inc. (AEI) is hosting a special seminar at the Hawaii Homebuyers Fair this Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Keynote speaker Ken Johnson, the Western Region Business Development Manager for Mitsubishi Electric’s PV Division, will share the latest developments in solar. Admission is free to fair attendees, but space is limited. Sign up in advance for the seminar at (As a bonus, seminar attendees can enter to win up to $20,000 worth of premium Mitsubishi Electric ductless HVAC air conditioning! Last year’s winners, Joey and Annie Ouchi of Mililani, are enjoying cool comfort in their entire home courtesy of AEI.)

Below, Johnson gives readers a sneak preview of what’s to come:


What are the latest developments in solar energy?


“Renewable energy installations continue to expand in the U.S. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, there are now more than 1 million solar installations nationwide. However, the industry is experiencing headwinds: utilities lobbying PUCs to curb or eliminate net metering, charging new fi xed monthly fees to solar homeowners, and more. Hawaii is already experiencing some of this. I encourage anyone who is considering solar to move quickly as the grid supply option is expected to close soon,” he said.

What’s next for solar in Hawaii?

“Hawaii leads the nation in residential solar installations per capita. We’re expecting it to be a leader in energy storage, too. If the grid supply option is not expanded, very soon consumers will no longer be allowed to send power generated by their PV system to the grid,” he said. “Instead, they’ll need to store excess energy and use it in the evenings or on cloudy days. We’re all watching as this unfolds.


As more storage systems are installed, costs are expected to decrease.”

How important is it to choose the right manufacturer?

“A reputable manufacturer is more important than ever. Mitsubishi Electric is uniquely positioned. A common performance warranty for solar panels is 25 years. Since Mitsubishi Electric has been around 95 years and is diversified and profitable, it gives homeowners confidence that Mitsubishi will be around to stand behind its warranty. Many other panel makers have no diversification; as the industry experiences challenging times, some of these companies fail. Another thing that sets Mitsubishi apart is its product quality. Our panels are made in our own highly automated factories in Japan. They’re designed with an emphasis on long-term performance and safety. We have never had a recall and our panels have been tested in some of the harshest conditions in the world,” Johnson said.

What should a customer look for when considering PV?


“Choose a contractor who’s been in business a long time, who has done a significant number of installations, and whose business model is diversified. Then look at what products they recommend. Since panels are the heart of the system and the only component that produces electricity, make sure the installer is using high quality panels from a manufacturer who is diversified, profitable and whom you expect will be around for the duration of the warranty,” he said.

Why is it important to work with a Mitsubishi Electric authorized contractor?

“Mitsubishi authorized contractors purchase panels directly from Mitsubishi Electric. This model allows them to get support directly from the manufacturer,” he said. “After rigorous training, we communicate regularly and periodically inspect their installations to make sure they meet our standards.

What about A/C?

“Key features to consider are energy efficiency, air filtration capabilities, and quiet operation. Mitsubishi units are extremely efficient. Washable filters last up to 10 years and remove pollen, dust, dander and other allergens. Indoor units are whisper quiet; external units are quieter than a typical refrigerator,” Johnson said.

AEI is the only company in Hawaii that is both a Mitsubishi Elite Dealer for PV and a Mitsubishi Elite Diamond Contractor for AC, technically trained to sell and install Mitsubishi Electric products.

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