More businesses rely on solar power

Roland Kuroda
Roland Kuroda

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIPIO (KHNL) - It's a growing trend for businesses across Oahu. Solar panels are taking over more and more rooftops.

In the past two weeks, three Oahu businesses, Tori Richard, the aloha wear company, D. Otani, a produce company, both in Kalihi, and now Kuroda Auto Body in Waipio all rely on clean solar energy to power up their shops.

For more than 60 years, Kuroda Auto Body has given new life to people's cars. During that time, they used electricity to power up their shop. but now, they get a new lease on life with solar energy.

"It feels wonderful that when I come up here and look at it and I see that we're producing our own energy, I know that I'm reducing some of my operating costs," Owner Roland Kuroda said.

In these anything but smooth economic times, businesses like Kuroda's look at other ways to buff away costs. Helping the environment is an extra incentive.

"If it wasn't for the tax credits, I don't think that we would make that decision, both the federal and state government has been very helpful in promoting small businesses and homeowners to invest in clean energy," he said.

This photovoltaic or P.V. power system is expected to generate more than 50,000 kilowatt hours of energy, which is enough to power 150 homes for a year.

"We have wind, sun, we have the waves, we have a lot of renewable energy resources and we just need to tap into it," he said.

Tapping into a trend to help clean up the environment and save money at the same time.

The total cost of the project is $250,000. The system should last at least 20 years and is expected to save the auto body shop about $18,000 each year.