You might have noticed this airlift happening in Chinatown recently. Palettes of photovoltaic panels from Sunetric were raised 280 feet up to the roof of Kukui Plaza.
"Thirty-seven palates brought to 32 floors, it was a logistical undertaking, huge feat, definitely a huge feat," said Aaron Kirk, Sunetric Chief Operating Officer.
Getting the panels up to the rooftops of both towers of Kukui Plaza was only one obstacle. Having enough panels to power up the buildings was another.
"It's always a challenge when you're talking a condo because condos are specifically built up on a small piece of real estate and solar is all about having the most real estate, the most space that you can install panels," Kirk noted.
Kirk also says it's possible and feasible for condos to go solar now because there are new panels that are about a third smaller and still put out as much power. In this project, there were enough panels to provide 30 percent of the power used at Kukui Plaza.
"I hope to see more condos take this leap and I hope that Hawaii residents and condo owners and their associations see that it is possible. It's a huge undertaking but it's a good payoff in the end," shared Kirk.
Now another obstacle for condo owners is getting enough residents to agree that it makes financial sense. The upfront cost of installing solar panels can be pricey. But Kirk points out that electricity in Hawaii is the most expensive in the country.
Kirk added, "The cost has to make sense and with the high cost of power in Hawaii it does make sense on virtually any installation. If you do the math you're gonna pay off a system within two to five years."