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Business Energy Guide 2012

Making the Transition Helping Hawaii's Businesses Become Energy Efficient

By: Sherie Char

(page 7 of 8)

A Peace-of-Mind Purchase

“We find that businesses decide to make renewable energy upgrades for various reasons,” says Alex Tiller, chief executive officer of Sunetric. “Nine times out of 10, the reason is based on an economic decision.”

With Hawaii’s increasing energy prices, many business owners are looking for innovative ways to save money so they can efficiently operate their companies and become sustainable.

“If you have high electricity bills, switching over to
solar is theeasiest way to affect your company’s
bottom line.”
— Alex Tiller, chief executive officer, Sunetric

“Sustainability is a powerful word,” notes Tiller. “It has to do with the environment, but it also has to do with running your business in an efficient manner, so that it’s sustainable. At Sunetric, each of us tries to live our lives in a sustainable way. It is one of our guiding principles.”

As the largest locally owned and operated full-service renewable energy firm in Hawaii, Sunetric specializes in residential and commercial PV systems. From consultation, design and engineering to permitting, financing and installation, Sunetric does it all.

“Customers expect to have a peace-of-mind purchase,” says Tiller. “At Sunetric, we stand behind our work and walk our customers through the economics up front. We explain what types of financing options and packages are available, and make introductions as necessary or help obtain the financing for them. What differentiates Sunetric from a vast majority of other companies is that we actually build our own systems.”

When Sean and Beth-Ann Mullen started Sunetric in 2004—before state and federal tax incentives existed—they believed in sustainability as a lifestyle goal.

“They were pioneers who really drove the market in Hawaii,” says Tiller. “Sunetric plans on being here for the long run to provide its customers with quality construction.”

“We also came out with the first power purchase agreement product for nonprofits,” says Tiller. “Otherwise, nonprofit organizations wouldn’t be able to install a PV system. If you don’t pay taxes, you can’t get tax incentives.”

With no up-front cost, PPAs are a very attractive option for business owners. Sunetric installs and maintains the PV system on your property, and sells the electricity produced at a significant discount versus current utility rates—typically 20 percent or more savings.

Photo: istockphoto.com/hemera

“This is definitely an innovation in the solar market,” stated Tiller. “We like to do a lot of innovative things, even in the way we build our systems from an engineering standpoint and an efficiency perspective.”

Tiller says that solar panels rarely break, which also adds to a business owner’s peace of mind. Unlike windmills, solar technology does not have any moving parts.

“Solar is very discreet, very low profile and it comes with very low-maintenance requirements,” he says. “As the installer and maintenance specialist, we know that there is very little servicing required—less than 1 percent. That’s how we can pass on the savings to our customers.”

The feed-in tariff system is another innovative program that allows people to effectively drive revenue from parts of their business that they never had before.

“Your roof now has the ability to generate more revenue than it could before,” he says. “The business owners who are taking the time to do the math realize that it’s the best investment that they can make for their company. We don’t have to convince people of the value of solar anymore.”

“If you have high electricity bills, switching over to solar is the easiest way to affect your company’s bottom line,” says Tiller. “Such changes can make an immediate and predictable difference. We’d love if you hire Sunetric, but regardless if you choose us or if you hire another company, you should do it and take advantage of the savings.”

Just like the booming clean energy industry, Sunetric is on a very rapid growth development. In November 2011, Sunetric opened new offices in Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

“It’s the reverse brain drain,” he says. “You hear about people leaving Hawaii to go to these other places, but not us. We want to stay based out of Hawaii and start bringing work to Hawaii. We’ve built thousands of projects, and we believe we can share our experience, expertise and affect the national and the global market for energy right out of this great state.”

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