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Sunetric in the Press

Be Green 2: Sunetric’s Power Plan for Non-profits

Monday, November 23, 2009

<a target="_blank" href="">Watch</a> Sunetric's Alex Tiller as he talks with Kirk Matthews about Sunetric's Power Plan for non-profits on KHON, Channel 2. 

An Easy Way to Go Solar

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My wife Beth-Ann and I started Sunetric – now Hawaii’s largest locally owned and operated solar energy company – five years ago. We started it with a mission for people to embrace renewable energy and to be cognizant of living a “green” lifestyle.

During these five years, we have had the distinct pleasure to help families, businesses and state and federal entities across the state go solar. But we also were seeing many families and nonprofits that wanted to do their part to minimize the impact made on our environment. They just could not afford the up-front cost of doing so.

For those families and nonprofits, Sunetric is now making solar easier to get than ever. Our new Sunetric Power Plan offers nonprofit organizations free solar power systems, along with free installation. In the future, the Sunetric Power Plan also will be available to households on a limited basis.

How are we going to do this?

With the Sunetric Power Plan, our affiliate, Sunetric Capital, owns the system and sells clean solar power to the customer. Customers only pay for the electricity their system generates each month – kind of like the traditional utility, but greener. Sunetric also will operate, monitor and maintain the solar power systems at no extra charge. We are the only company in Hawaii to offer this renewable energy plan.

The savings don’t stop there.

A Sunetric Power Plan energy payment combined with a smaller utility bill is less than your current electricity bill, so customers start saving money from day one, up to 20 percent.

With Sunetric’s construction experience, online monitoring and automated billing, installation is fast with minimal interruption, and system management is efficient without compromising quality or service. That way, nonprofits can stay productive and residents can keep living life as usual.

Now that the upfront expense of solar electricity has been virtually eliminated – along with hassles of installation and maintenance – there is very little holding people back from powering up with solar.

This is what Beth-Ann and I had hoped for when we started our company: to provide renewable energy to people easily and cost effectively so that everyone could enjoy living a “greener” lifestyle. The new Sunetric Power Plan will do just that.

This plan is ideal for buildings in high “sun zone” areas. Contact Sunetric to see if you qualify at 262-6600 or visit or

Click here to read Sean Mullen’s article in Midweek.

Innovative Company of the Year Finalist

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sunetric helps its customers finance solar projects

As the recession restricted his customers’ budgets, Sean Mullen moved quickly to help offset the costs of the pricey solar-energy systems his company designs and installs.

“When it got hard for people to secure financing, we thought, if the banks aren’t going to lend them the money, then we need to find investors,” said Mullen, who founded Sunetric as a renewable-energy firm in 2004.

Mullen pooled money from local investors to form Sunetric Capital, offering free installations of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems, which typically cost at least $30,000.

The result is what Mullen calls the Sunetric Power Plan, which was launched this year and already has landed several customers for the Kailua-based company.

Under the program, Sunetric pays the up-front costs of residential and commercial PV projects. In turn, it becomes the owner, operator and maintainer of the systems in exchange for a contract requiring the customer to pay for the “green” electricity generated and used each month.

“We become a micro-utility selling power that will usually be at a savings of 20 percent compared to Hawaiian Electric Co.,” Mullen said. “We can do anything from a five-kilowatt system [enough to generate power for the average home] to multimegawatt projects. On the commercial side, we can tailor agreements to what customers want — either locked-in rates or floating rates based on oil prices.”

Sunetric performs credit checks and determines the feasibility of an applicant’s proposed location for a system.

Mullen said the company also considers projects in preferred sun zones — typically on the outskirts of the Islands and away from rainy spots.

Sunetric, formerly called Suntech Hawaii, saw revenues of $30 million in 2008, and Mullen said the firm, which has 75 employees, is on track to do similar business this year.

He credits federal and state tax incentives for renewable-energy investments for helping to balance the effects of the economic downturn.

Sunetric’s recent projects include an 803-kilowatt system at the Kona Commons Shopping Center in Kailua-Kona, which the company claims is the largest rooftop solar system in the state, and a ground-mounted 353-kilowatt system at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue, Kauai.

The company also has received contracts for installations on military bases that it says will provide a platform for continued growth for several years.

Click here to read the article in Pacific Business News.<br/>

Kailua company adapts quickly as it follows the sun

In the five years since Sean Mullen launched his solar energy company, the business has found success in Hawaii’s commercial and residential markets and saw revenue grow to $30 million last year.

Kailua-based Sunetric designs, develops and installs solar photovoltaic systems and solar hot water heater systems for customers across the state. The company, with 75 employees, also offers consulting services to help clients further reduce their electricity by showing them how to be energy efficient.

Mullen said Sunetric’s customers include an equal mix of residential and commercial projects.

“We’ve achieved success by being forward-thinking and being able to adapt innovative ideas for Hawaii’s market quickly,” he said.

Despite the recession, he said Sunetric’s revenue is expected to be flat this year, which he credits to federal and state tax incentives for renewable-energy investments.

The company expanded its focus beyond residential because of the cyclical nature of the solar industry, which made it a challenge for the company to stay busy year-round.

“The majority of residential projects take place during tax season, usually a three-month period of solid work when homeowners are trying to take advantage of the solar tax incentives,” Mullen said.

The company launched the Sunetric Power Plan to offer free installations of residential and commercial photovoltaic systems, which typically costs the average homeowner at least $30,000.

“This unique plan for Hawaii is projected to provide incredible growth for Sunetric in the first half of 2010,” he said.

The company also relies on multi-year contract work for installations on military bases. Mullen said that the company has installed more than two megawatts of solar generating capacity on the state’s military bases over the past three years. That amounts to enough electricity to power about 600 homes.

To fill what it saw as a community need, earlier this year Sunetric launched a mobile power station — a Honda Element mini SUV outfitted with PV panels — for schools and nonprofits to use to supply power at events.

“We had been getting a lot of requests from organizations to have mobile PV panels to power their events,” Mullen said. “We were lugging panels and inverters and batteries until we finally decided to build a portable power station within one of our company vehicles.”

Sunetric’s so-called Watt Wheels-mobile can supply close to 6,000 watts of energy — enough for a typical day-long event. The company lends the vehicle to organizations for free.

Click here to read the article in Pacific Business News.

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