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Keahole Solar Power's Grand Vision
Kona goes green and becomes the first Sustainable Destination in Hawaii!
  • Kona is home to the worlds elite. From the World famous Ironman Triathlon where the best athletes compete to Michael Dell's Hualalai Resort, and Charles Schwab's Palamanui mixed-use project where the world's wealthiest relax and find residence, Kona is the place to be. But with new development comes new challenges for energy. Sopogy's MicroCSP technology is a perfect blend of Hawaiian technology with low-key elegant yet robust appearance and high energy efficiencies. MicroCSP is a technology who's time has come for Kona and Keahole Solar Power is the home of Hawaii's and the World's first MicroCSP solar farm.

Sopogy is a local technology company formed by Big Island native Darren T. Kimura. The company began its work in Kona in 2002 based on an idea that solar energy could be used to do more than just make hot water. This premise lead Darren and his team to take a traditional solar hot water system and adapt modifications to try and achieve fluid temperatures above hot water levels otherwise known as process heat.

Utilities across the country (including Hawaiian Electric) burn fossil fuel to create process heat which they use to turn turbines that produce electricity. Darren’s idea was to create electricity similarly but use the sun and stop the burning of oil. This idea would reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil and atmsopheric pollution.

The first attempts identified that hot water solar panels were unable to achieve working process heat temperatures so the team kept at it. After four years of trial and error, new technology designs and testing all over the State of Hawaii, Darren and his team developed a concentrating panel that worked effectively. They then moved their pilot project over to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) and continued testing. The final product is a concentrating solar panel which uses mirrors to focus the energy of the sun creating process heat in a collector package able to protect the panel against storms and Hawaii’s harsh environment.

Keahole Solar Power is the first large scale project in the world to use Sopogy’s proprietary solar panels. Because of its unique hot and sunny conditions Kona was selected as its home.

 
Governor George Ariyoshi a Visionary for Renewable Energy in Hawaii

During his 14 years as Governor of the State of Hawaii, Governor Ariyoshi was instrumental in developing the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii which was created by the Legislature in 1974 to research renewable energy.

Governor Ariyoshi recognized that these ecologically-friendly techniques could benefit businesses and boost the economy, and was able to develop a master plan and attain a master lease to help reduce bureaucratic red tape for potential businesses.

Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu's Vision for KSP

KSP can produce power into the grid and displace our reliance on fossil fuels to produce energy for our homes, buildings, and facilities. There are many more possibilities for the future such as powering fuel cells that can be used in backup generators, cars, homes, and electronic equipment.

I believe Sopogy Inc. will play a huge role in the renewable energy industry in Hawaii and the world.

Jon Riki Karamatsu is a representative in Hawaii's State Legislature and advocate for Hawaii technology businesses and renewable energy. In 2006 he authored and sponsored a $10 million dollar bond measure to help Sopogy finance Keahole Solar Power. Visit his website at: www.capitol.hawaii.gov

The Hawaiians have a great deal of respect for the Sun

By Sopogy's Kahu Uncle Earl Regidor

La - the sun - was very important to Na Po'e Kahiko. They used the sun in many different ways. One, was using it as part of the navigational tools that helped them find their way to this land we call Hawai'i. They believed the sun was one of two elements that created life, the other was fresh water. With out one or the other there would not be life as we know it.

With the way our economy is today, we need to find better ways to use the resources that was given to us by akua. I'm confident that by trying, it can make our lives a bit easier. We have the people with Ike (knowledge) and the technology to do just that. And if we succeed, than we won't be so dependent on fossil fuel. I'm all for alternative energy, it is the way of our ancestors.

There's a lot of green good happening here!

By Darren T. Kimura Sopogy's President & CEO

TALKING green is so easily done these days with the panic over record breaking oil costs, high energy costs, global warming and climate change. It seems you can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing someone TALKING big on going green. Sometimes I wonder "Where were these people a few years ago when being green wasn’t so cool? I also wonder what will come from all this green TALK?"

My green and clean energy career began with ACTION here on the Big Island in 1994. Back then I was determined to help local businesses like Big Island Federal Credit Union, Blane’s Drive Inn and KTA reduce their energy pain, making it a little easier and cheaper to bring their services to us.

It was a labor of love as the company began from my car and we struggled to get things going. In 1994 energy was cheap and people believed global warming was a myth. Still, we remained committed to help island people curb their energy costs which we knew would one day become a major problem. Over that time, we learned a lot about the energy business, met a lot of good friends who really cared about energy and stayed focused on helping our communities.

Today I am proud to break ground on the first renewable energy project at NELHA in 30 years and the first MicroCSP solar farm in the world! This project will help change the future of Kona and the Big Island for the better. We now have the home grown Hawaiian technology that can help us become independent from foreign oil. We have the intelligence here in Kona that will make us the beacon for the rest of the world when it comes to clean and green power and most important we can send a powerful message to everyone that Kona is a place where Green Talk is meaningless. Kona is home to RENEWABLE GREEN ENERGY ACTION!