Darren T. Kimura, CEO of Sopogy who’s company is based in Hawaii has developed a technology for concentrated solar power plants around the world, including one on the Big Island.
“The islands are separated, so every single island has its own grid,” he says, explaining the challenge of integrating renewable energy, with its intermittent nature, such as clouds over the sun. “Our technology incorporates storage, where we are able to basically buffer the effects of clouds.” Kimura says that with concentrated solar, a plant can store power to be used after the sun sets, “way up to maybe even midnight.”
He says solar power companies haven’t experienced the same pushback from locals that the wind energy industry has seen. Still, he’s heard complaints, like feedback on Sopogy’s solar collector called the SopoNova . “We heard from the locals here, ‘Wow, SopoNova’s really ugly’—and it did look ugly. We redesigned it, we designed the aesthetics of it to match the ground color for example, and we made it blend in with local topology.”