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Making technology more practical attracts investors

August 4, 2007

  

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) – August 3, 2007

Tina Yuen, PBN

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The aluminum trough-shaped solar collectors developed in the warehouse of Honolulu-based Sopogy Inc. do not represent the next revolution in solar energy generation.  The company doesn’t revolt. It specializes in evolution, fashioning design improvements that increase the practicality of proven technology.  “We try to go after markets that already exist, providing near-term, modest solutions,” said Darren Kimura, president and CEO of the company he founded in 2006.

Next-generation technology

Sopogy builds next-generation parabolic reflectors that concentrate solar power, maximizing energy output from a low-cost, durable system that can be set up on or off the power grid.  The strategy has earned Sopogy the attention of two local venture capital groups, as well as the state, which this year made available up to $10 million in special-purpose revenue bonds to finance a one-megawatt power plant to be connected to the Big Island grid.  “Darren’s company is taking technology that has been proven to work in other areas, but has not been fine-tuned in Hawaii,” said state Sen. Carol Fukunaga, D-Makiki-Tantalus-Punchbowl, who proposed the legislation to provide the revenue bonds. “He has been very innovative in his approach.”

The 3,000-reflector plant will be built on six acres of lava rock at the Big Island’s Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority for an estimated $8 million and run by a newly formed Kimura company, Keahole Solar Power.  “Our goal is to use this as a showcase,” Kimura said. “We’re a Hawaii-based company, but our market is the world.”

Kimura isn’t ready to put a price tag on his units yet, but said Sopogy’s focus has been to build a system that costs about half as much as a comparable photovoltaic system, with a return on investment in three to five years.  Sopogy’s solar units differ from the more widespread, flat-paneled photovoltaic systems seen on residential and commercial rooftops. The company’s researchers focus on concentrated solar power designs, models with oil- or water-filled pipe that runs through parabolic reflectors, capturing heat used to generate steam.

That concept isn’t new.

The innovation comes in the form of nanocoating that insulates the reflectors from salt damage, of axes that allow the reflectors not only to track the sun in quarter-degree increments, but also to be flipped over and protected with additional casing in a hurricane.  A California company manufactures the units from glass, aluminum and concrete — an attractive element of the project for investors.  “They figured out how to use a low-cost manufacturing process,” said Joelle Simonpietri, a partner at Kolohala Ventures, which invested in Sopogy last year.

Sopogy is working with two different commercial models — the 2.5-foot-wide SopoFlare and the 5-foot-wide SopoNova.  “We’re the only company out there that is trying to shrink these systems,” Kimura said.

Building the ranks

Over the next year, Sopogy will build its ranks from its current 11 employees, looking to grow into a 100-employee company, Kimura said. A second round of financing should bring an influx of at least $5 million, he said.

The company has an eye on going public in the next three years, he said, a move that would give it more liquidity and bolster its research and development, as well as manufacturing, efforts.  “Hawaii is really only our lab,” Kimura said. “Our market is California, Asia.”

But the entrepreneur from Hilo has no plans to see his company leave the state.  “I want to leave a legacy in Hawaii,” he said.

cwoolard@bizjournals.com | 955-8039

Mr. Jonathan Ishikawa joins Sopogy as Project & Vendor Channel Manager

August 1, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 1, 2007
Subject: Mr. Jonathan Ishikawa joins Sopogy as Project & Vendor Channel Manager

Contact: Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO
Tel: ( 808 ) 216-3478
Email: dkimura@sopogy.org
Jonathan Ishikawa Joins Sopogy as Project & Vendor Channel Manager
Honolulu, HI – Sopogy, Inc. announced today that Mr. Jonathan Ishikawa has joined the company as its Project Manager & Vendor Channel Manager.  Prior to joining Sopogy he was a Project Manger and Business Development Manager at Pipeline Communications & Technology, Inc.  He holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Washington University ( St. Louis ) and is a current member of the Hawaii Army National Guard.
About Sopogy, Inc.
Sopogy, Inc. ( www.sopogy.org ) is a Hawaii based solar technology company founded by Energy Laboratories the “think-tech” incubator of Energy Industries.  Sopogy is a manufacturer and developer of Concentrated Solar Power ( CSP ) technologies that increase the effectiveness of solar energy. Sopogy offers a cost-effective method for producing renewable electricity, drinking water from sea water and air conditioning from the power of the sun.
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* * *
For additional information about Sopogy, Inc., please contact Darren Kimura, President & CEO at ( 808 ) 216-3478.

Avista considers concentrated solar – NW Current

July 31, 2007

Avista considers concentrated solar

When most people think of Northwest energy sources, hydropower is at the top of the list. But Bob Cart, CEO of GreenVolts Inc., a San Francisco-based designer and developer of high concentration photovoltaic systems, thinks about the untapped solar resource in much of eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and Idaho.

Cart — a Bay Area entrepreneur and solar industry “hobbyist” — has raised $1.5 million in seed money, including funds from in-kind services and his cash winnings from the renewable energy prize at the 2006 California Clean Tech Open. GreenVolts recently received an investment of an undisclosed amount from Spokane, Wash.-based utility Avista Corp., which is working with GreenVolts to build a demonstration solar power plant in Rathdrum, Idaho.

“It’s an R&D type of project,” Cart says. “Our goal is not to deliver a certain amount of capacity, but to really understand and characterize the technology.”

Avista’s new integrated resource plan, which is due to be released in August, calls for an increase in renewables, according to company spokesman Hugh Imhof. The Rathdrum test site is close to a substation and has room for five other projects, Imhof says.

“We’re very impressed with their technology and their business plan,” Imhof says. “They seem to really have their act together, and the technology looks like it has the potential to be viable.”

Cart says concentrated solar power systems are practical — even in the Northwest — for a number of reasons. Concentrated solar systems create high outputs of energy by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a super-efficient solar cell. “You get the low cost of a mirror delivering the light on a very efficient cell,” he says. “And you end up using less than one-thousandth of the active solar cell material than you would on a conventional solar panel.”

A typical commercial solar cell has an efficiency of 15 percent, meaning about one-sixth of the sunlight striking the cell generates electricity, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Low efficiencies require larger arrays of solar panels, which increase costs. By replacing expensive silicon semiconductor materials with simple mirrors, concentrated solar systems further reduce the cost of energy. Concentrated solar systems also achieve much more energy per unit land area, Cart says, claiming that Greenvolts’ technology produces at least twice the energy per unit of land area as do other solar technologies.

GreenVolts’ patent-pending technology uses mirrors licensed from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a super-efficient solar cell made by Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab. Its technology is not to be confused with concentrated solar thermal technology, in which the device that converts the sunlight into electricity is done so thermally rather than through photovoltaics.

Jim Maskrey, vice president of business development and sales for Sopogy Inc., a Hawaii-based manufacturer of concentrating solar thermal power systems, is managing a handful of demonstration projects in Hawaii. The company is targeting commercial clients with large roofs and tracts of land that have the need for systems in the 200 kw-10MW range. “One of the advantages of concentrated solar thermal is that you are able to store the thermal energy and then generate electricity after hours when the sun is not shining,” he says.

Recent legislation in Oregon and Washington has mandated that privately owned utilities acquire a percentage of electricity from renewable sources. Washington’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), passed by a ballot initiative in November 2006, requires privately owned utilities to acquire 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020 and undertake cost-effective energy conservation. The Oregon legislature recently passed an RPS that requires Oregon’s largest utilities to obtain 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. It also extends the life of the Oregon Energy Trust to 2025 and increases the trust’s ability to fund energy conservation.

The legislation has led many utilities to study the potential energy output of concentrated solar systems in the sunniest areas of the Northwest region. Seattle-based Puget Sound Energy announced in June 2006 that it chose San Rafael, Calif.-based EI Solutions to build a 500-kilowatt solar power generating facility adjacent to its Wild Horse wind farm near Ellensburg, Wash. [See “Gone with the wind,” nwcurrent, January 2007]. The $3.7 million Wild Horse solar project will have more than 2,500 photovoltaic solar panels, mounted in two separate locations across five acres, according to the utility.

When completed, the project will be the country’s first large-scale combined solar and wind power plant, and the Northwest’s largest solar power-generating plant.

While the Northwest’s solar resource is not as good as Southern California’s or Nevada’s, it is relatively strong in the summer, when the wind is not spinning the region’s many wind turbines as fast and demand for power in the region is strongest.

“One of the advantages of concentrated solar is, even though it costs more to make the power in Washington, it’s still cheaper than any other solar technology,” Cart says. “And it’s still competitive with other sources of daytime peak, especially when it needs to be renewable.”

Sopogy in Honolulu Advertiser – Governor approves bonds

July 6, 2007

Sopogy News from the Honolulu Advertiser

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Governor OKs bond issuance for solar project

Advertiser Staff

HONOLULU — Sopogy Inc. has received Gov. Linda Lingle’s approval for the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds. Act 229 authorizes the issuance of $10,000,000 in special purpose revenue bonds to Sopogy Inc., to assist with planning, designing, constructing, equipping and operating a solar farm power plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory or another suitable site in Hawaii.”This is an important step in supporting renewable energy and helps break Hawaii’s bonds to imported fossil fuels. We commend the leadership and vision of Vice Chairman Jon Riki Karamatsu who authored the bill, the 2007 Hawaii State Legislature, and Governor Linda Lingle” said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy Inc. NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii) is an important location for this project as it has some of the highest solar energy of any coastal location in the USA. “With new technology companies seeking its unique deep ocean water comes new electric power needs. Sopogy’s clean power solutions will help NELHA continue to grow, while achieving the energy park’s mission and focus on natural energy. We are excited to lead the next generation of renewable energy research at the park and look forward to working with Hawaiian Electric in making this clean solar power project a reality.”

June 30, 2007 – The Honolulu Advertiser

Sopogy Inc., a local renewable energy company, has received state approval to issue $10 million in special revenue bonds to build a solar farm tentatively planned for the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority facility in Kona. The company specializes in development, manufacturing and distribution of solar power systems for electricity generation. Sopogy was founded in 2002 by local entrepreneur Darren Kimura with the goal of addressing environmental issues, such as climate change, energy security and sustainability.

Sopogy in RenewableEnergyAccess.com

July 5, 2007

Renewable Energy Access

Hawaii Approves $10 M for Solar Farm Bonds

June 29, 2007 – Honolulu, Hawaii [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]

Sopogy, Inc. recently announced it received Governor Linda Lingle’s approval for the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds. Act 229 authorizes the issuance of $10,000,000 in special purpose revenue bonds to Sopogy Inc., to assist with planning, designing, constructing, equipping and operating a solar farm power plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority or another suitable site in Hawaii. “This is an important step in supporting renewable energy and helps break Hawaii’s bonds to imported fossil fuels. We commend the leadership and vision of Vice Chairman Jon Riki Karamatsu who authored the bill, the 2007 Hawaii State Legislature, and Governor Linda Lingle,” said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy Inc.

Sopogy in VentureBeat

July 4, 2007

Sopogy in VentureBeat

Sopogy — The Honolulu solar thermal concentrator company had already raised $3 million in financing. The company has now just received $10 million more in a revenue bond from Hawaii’s governor to help construct a thermal plant there.

State of Hawaii approves $10 million dollars for Sopogy Solar Farm Bonds

June 29, 2007
Sopogy Press Release
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: June 29, 2007

Subject: State of Hawaii approves $10 million dollars for Sopogy solar farm bonds

Contact: Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO

Tel: (808) 216-3478

email: dkimura@sopogy.org

State of Hawaii approves $10 million dollars for Sopogy Solar Farm Bonds

Honolulu, HI – Sopogy, Inc. announced today it received Governor Linda Lingle’s approval for the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds. Act 229 authorizes the issuance of $10,000,000 in special purpose revenue bonds to Sopogy Inc., to assist with planning, designing, constructing, equipping and operating a solar farm power plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority or another suitable site in Hawaii.

“This is an important step in supporting renewable energy and helps break Hawaii’s bonds to imported fossil fuels. We commend the leadership and vision of Vice Chairman Jon Riki Karamatsu who authored the bill, the 2007 Hawaii State Legislature, and Governor Linda Lingle” said Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO of Sopogy Inc.

NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii) is an important location for this project as it has some of the highest solar energy of any coastal location in the USA. With new technology companies seeking its unique deep ocean water comes new electric power needs. “Sopogy’s clean power solutions will help NELHA continue to grow, while achieving the energy park’s mission and focus on natural energy. We are excited to lead the next generation of renewable energy research at the park and look forward to working with Hawaiian Electric in making this clean solar power project a reality” added Kimura.

About Sopogy, Inc.

Sopogy, Inc. (www.sopogy.org) is dedicated to enabling the renewable energy economy by dramatically increasing energy production through widespread use of its Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies. Sopogy offers a cost-effective method for producing process heat used to create electricity, air conditioning, steam and hot water.

(end)

* * *

For additional information about Sopogy, Inc., please contact Darren Kimura, President & CEO at (808) 216-3478 .

Jim Maskrey in Pacific Business News

June 22, 2007

Jim Maskrey

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) – June 22, 2007



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Jim Maskrey has joined Sopogy Inc. as vice president of sales and business development. He will be responsible for bringing to market Sopogy’s solar technology, invented in Hawaii in 2002 by the think-tank Energy Industries.

Prior to that, he spent 10 years as the manager of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s demand-side management program, which handles rebate incentives for businesses and commercial facilities that implement energy efficiency.

Maskrey, 51, was born in Torrance, Calif. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in environmental planning from the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and an MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Why I took this job: I have worked in energy efficiency my entire working career and the opportunity to be part of a leadership team to develop this renewable energy company was an exciting challenge that met long-term career ambitions.

Like most about the job: I love the diversity of responsibilities inherent in a startup company. But what is exceptionally rewarding is the excitement and support I am hearing from the customers with whom we are developing projects. People and companies are now eager to respond to the challenge of climate change. It is a refreshing change.

Immediate priority: Getting projects commissioned here in Hawaii to demonstrate the huge potential of concentrated solar power technology.

Strategy to overcome the challenge: Stay innovative and flexible, and effectively communicate the value proposition to customers. Get the customers to want to do business with you.

Biggest problem in my industry: The high “perceived” cost of the systems. Government support for renewables should be accelerated even beyond what has been seen in the past two years. Without getting political, I will say the continued “debate” over peak oil and the growth in construction of coal-fired generating plants reflects that we are still not properly valuing renewable energy. Higher first costs of renewable energy systems should not be the deterrent to their installation when the consequences of fossil-fuel dependence are so extraordinarily longer term.

Essential business philosophy: Let honesty, credibility and integrity guide all decisions and actions.

Biggest risk taken in my career: Leaving a successful engineering firm that I was poised to take over to pursue other professional opportunities in energy efficiency.

Most important lesson learned: Do your work for the passion, not for the money.

Most important mentor: Craig Perkins, director of public works for the City of Santa Monica, under whom I served before relocating to Hawaii. For the past two decades Craig has demonstrated visionary leadership by making the city a globally recognized leader in sustainability for its progressive programs in energy, water, wastewater and solid waste.

Favorite way to spend free time: Spending time with my wife and son in just about any setting.

Book by my bedside: “Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success” by Andrew W. Savitz and Karl Weber.

Meredith Prock – Visit original story at Pacific Business News

Sopogy in GreenTech

June 18, 2007

San Francisco-based GreenVolts, a company pursuing a new solar concentration approach for utility grade power, today announced it has been chosen by Pacific Northwest utility Avista for a demonstration project—and has received a strategic investment from the company.

This summer, GreenVolts is to place its high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) system with Avista at a test site. The project will record performance data over two years to validate long-term system performance and costs.

GreenVolts believes its photovoltaic collector will deliver energy at a cost competitive with peak natural gas alternatives when coupled with a tracking mechanism.

“We believe the future is one in which consumers will gain access to green energy by plugging into the grid instead of going off of it,” said Bob Cart, CEO and founder of GreenVolts. “In order for this to become a reality, utilities must have access to a price competitive solar energy source that can also be located close to the demand.”

The company calls its 3kW platform a CarouSol. It uses low cost mirrors to concentrate 625 suns of energy onto a small, 40 percent-efficient solar cell, confirmed to Inside Greentech as a Spectrolab cell at a recent industry event.

It is mounted on a two axis tracking mechanism, and features automated storm stowing, automated cleaning and passive cooling in distributed generation configurations of 1-20 MW.
The system appears to offer similar features to a solar thermal-based (not photovoltaic) utility-grade system being developed by Hawaii-based Sopogy, which also offers parabolic concentration and storm stowing for desert-based applications.

In addition to the Avista investment of an unreported amount, GreenVolts has raised more than $1.5 million in seed money and expects to seek a venture round of funding later this year. It was the winner of the California Cleantech Open business plan competition’s Renewables Power Prize last year.

Avista Utilities provides service to 346,000 electric and 306,000 natural gas customers in three western U.S. states.

Visit the article here: GreenTech

Dr. Sri Vemuri Joins Sopogy as Lead Applications Engineer

June 6, 2007

 June 06, 2007 – Subject: Dr. Srinivas Vemuri joins Sopogy as Lead Applications Engineer

Srinivas Vemuri, Ph.D. Joins Sopogy as Lead Applications Engineer

Sopogy, Inc. announced today that Dr. Srinivas Vemuri has joined the company as its Lead Applications Engineer. Dr. Vemuri has more than 10 years of experience in the engineering and researching field. Prior to joining Sopogy he was a Mechanical Engineering at Notkin Hawaii Inc.

He holds a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the Bangalore University (India) with 1st class honors, a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Orleans, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineer from University of Nevada (Reno).

For additional information about Sopogy, Inc.,
please contact Darren Kimura,
President & CEO at               (808) 216-3478     

 

Contact: Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO
Tel:               (808) 216-3478       
Email: dkimura ( @ ) sopogy dot com

Sopogy in Pacific Business News

May 7, 2007

Sopogy in Pacific Business News

Hawaii tech to be shown in Silicon Valley

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) – 2:47 PM HAST Monday, May 7, 2007

    Three inventions and two emerging technology companies from Hawaii will be showcased at a technology summit in Santa Clara, Calif., on May 22.The University of Hawaii’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development will present its annual Technology Showcase event in connection with the TechConnect Summit 2007, one of the world’s largest gatherings of technology developers, technology-based ventures and investors. 

    “TechConnect Summit is an ideal venue for the University of Hawaii to showcase its most promising technologies because of its prominence as a premiere technology event and its international audience,” Richard Cox, director of the UH Office of Technology Transfer, said in a statement. “We are excited about presenting new technologies developed in Hawaii, finding new partners to license and commercialize UH inventions, fostering business spin-off opportunities and bringing recognition to UH research and innovation.”

    The UH inventions include:

    •A solar-powered system that produces hydrogen and oxygen gases from water.
    •A technology that detects people through barriers using remote wireless monitoring of heart and breathing rates for use in search and rescue and the military.
    •Unique nanocomposite materials with improved strength and fracture resistance. The material can be used for aircraft, vehicles and resin-based products.

      New Hawaii-based technology companies, Nanopoint and Sopogy, also will be featured at the event. 

       

Sopogy in A dozen science, tech bills passed in innovation drive

May 6, 2007

A dozen science, tech bills

passed in ‘innovation’ drive

BY TREENA SHAPIRO

Advertiser Government Write r

The word buzzed around the state Capitol throughout the Legislative session, beginning with Gov. Linda Lingle’s call to diversify the economy through science and technology and ending Thursday with the Legislature passing a dozen bills meant to do just that. Many of Lingle’s ideas remained intact, although in many cases the funding fell through, most notably a proposal to make the Employees’ Retirement System invest $100 million of its $10.4 billion fund in promising

Hawai’i-based tech companies- which by the end of session had morphed into a simple request for ERS to look into local investments. Meanwhile, lawmakers had ideas of their own, and part of the more than $17million innovation package included $500,000 to expand aerospace development in the Islands, as well as almost $5 million to start an Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawai’i. The aerospace money would help the state look for opportunities in that areas well as providing seed money for a Pacific International Center for Space Explorations. Those in the science and technology industry say that what the state really needs to do is create a business-friendly environment to attract investors.

The most significant work the Legislature did, in their view, was to protect the high-tech tax credits and incentives known as Acts 221/215, even while adding reporting requirements. To many officials , the work done this session was a step in the right direction. “It’s always been our view that this is the right vision for Hawai’i future, the right strategy and approach for our economy,” said Ted Liu, director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism . “I think some good ideas were passed this session and we’ve always said there are a lot of good ideas related to innovation that had been introduced , some by us and some by others.” Sen. Carol Fukunaga, chairwoman of the Senate’s Economic Development and Taxation committee, anticipates this year’s legislation will help new companies start up, stimulate the creation of new jobs, allow for existing companies to expand and “hopefully lead to a much more diversified economy.” Fukunaga credits the governor with bringing into focus ideas about innovation that have been rattling around for a number of years. “The fact that the governor sort of started the ball rolling is a real plus,” she said. Liu said positive things came out of the session, but he was disappointed that many of the governor’s work force development initiatives were not passed.

The administration’s approach had included proposals to encourage high school and college students to enter science, technology, engineer ring and math, or STEM, fields as well as retrain existing workers to do more technical jobs. While many of the education initiatives survived, most professional development proposals fell by the wayside. Lifelong learning accounts , which would have allowed low wage earners to set aside pre-tax dollars for education and professional development, and would be matched by their employers and the state, was a priority for the administration, but it failed before the Legislature. A proposal to start a state rapid-response training program to help residents adjust to change s in the job market was also dropped. However, Liu said the administration will work with what it has. “On some initiatives they gave seed money that has challenged us to do as much with that as possible. I intend to do that,” he said. Some of the seed money is going to a Music Enterprise and Learning Program Experience program at Honolulu Community College. Over the next two years, $400,000 will be put toward a technology center and incubator in Kaka’ako.

During the next fiscal year, $5 million will be awarded in research funding for small locally based tech companies. In addition , the Legislature funded a number of initiatives aimed at public schools so that kids can start building up their STEM skills – and hopefully steer some into technical fields. Ian Kitajima, marketing manager for Oceanic, said this state funded research and development program is particularly significant. “This program received unprecedented industry and bipartisan support to leverage federal R&D investment coming into Hawaii,” he said via e-mail. “In the last three years, (about) $1.5 billion has been invested into Hawaii’s innovation industries due to the support of Hawaii’s congressional delegation .” Kitajima also said keeping the high-tech tax incentives mostly intact will encourage more investors to look to companies that offer well-paying jobs based on ideas and creativity. “Act 215 gives Hawai’i investors (and outside investors) a reason to look beyond Hawai’i real estate and other investments the y know very well ,” he said. “It also gives them an opportunity to pause and to look at investments that have a larger trickle-down effect,”

Attracting investors is critical, said Darren Kimura, president and CEO of Sopogy Inc., who was also relieved that Acts 221 and 215 were not changed in a way that would have made investors pull out, as feared earlier in the session. “Without seed capital, it’s a real challenge to get a start-up company going,” he said. “To get traction without capital is hard.” Kimura said investment capital is also needed to create jobs that will draw the best and brightest Hawai’i graduate s back to the state. “We need to create an environment where companies can get funded and succeed,” he said.. In an environment friendly to scientific companies, Kimura predicts there will be jobs for all the people the state wants to train. “Work force development is one of the top things we need to have,” he said. “We have that glass ceiling and we don’t have the answer to necessarily break through that,”

Reach TreenaShapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8014.

Click on images to download full story from the Honolulu Advertiser

Sopogy in the Honolulu Advertiser

Sopogy Wins $10 Million in Revenue Bonds

May 1, 2007

Sopogy Press from the House of Representatives

The House of Representatives

STATE OF HAWAII

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Vice Speaker Jon Riki Karamatsu

For Immediate Release – April 30, 2007 T. 808-586-8490

LOCAL SOLAR POWER COMPANY WINS $10M IN REVENUE BONDS

Honolulu. Sopogy, Inc., a local renewable energy company, has received legislative approval to issue as much as $10M in special purpose revenue bonds. House Bill 334, introduced by Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives Jon Riki Karamatsu, authorizes the issuance of bonds to assist Sopogy, Inc. with the planning, design, construction, equipping, and operating of a solar farm power plant.

Sopogy, Inc. specializes in the development, manufacture, and distribution of proprietary concentrated solar power systems that generate electricity. The company was founded in 2002 by local entrepreneur Darren Kimura with the goal of addressing global problems such as climate change, energy security and sustainability. The proposed location of Sopogy, Inc.’s solar farm power plant is the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority’s Kailua-Kona site.

“Sopogy is proud to be part of the solution to Hawaii’s energy needs,” said Kimura. “We are building a technology company that highlights the value of investing in Hawaii’s emerging clean energy sector and we are grateful for the support of Representative Karamatsu and the numerous members of the State House and Senate who supported our Special Purpose Revenue Bond.”

Author of the bill Rep. Karamatsu has been a staunch supporter of clean energy technology. In 2005, Rep. Karamatsu helped another Hilo native, Dustin Shindo, and his company, Hoku Scientific, secure one of Hawaii’s first special-purpose revenue bond authorizations for a renewable energy company. Hoku Scientific’s bonds were available for the planning, design, construction, and equipping of the company’s Kapolei facilities.

“Helping companies like Sopogy ultimately helps all of us,” said Vice Speaker Karamatsu. “Sopogy’s solar power technology will help Hawaii become less reliant on fossil fuels and hopefully begin to address the adverse effects of global warming.”

Sherrilyn Komoda Joins Sopogy as Office Manager

April 30, 2007

Sherrilyn Komoda Joins Sopogy as Office Manager
Honolulu, HI – Sopogy, Inc. announced today that Sherrilyn Komoda has joined the company as its Office Manager.  Prior to joining Sopogy, Ms. Komoda spent nearly five years at Energy Industries as the Hawaii Sales Manager overseeing 8 Sales Representatives on 4 islands.  In her role as Hawaii Sales Manager, Sherrilyn was instrumental in establishing and maintaining some of the company’s largest accounts.

About Sopogy, Inc.
Sopogy, Inc. ( www.sopogy.org ) is a Hawaii based solar technology company founded by Energy Laboratories the “think-tech” incubator of Energy Industries.  Sopogy is a manufacturer and developer of Concentrated Solar Power ( CSP ) technologies that increase the effectiveness of solar energy. Sopogy offers a cost-effective method for producing renewable electricity, drinking water from sea water and air conditioning from the power of the sun.

About Sopogy, Inc. Sopogy, Inc. (www.sopogy.org) is a Hawaii based solar technology company founded by Energy Laboratories the “think-tech” incubator of Energy Industries. Sopogy is a manufacturer and developer of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies that increase the effectiveness of solar energy. Sopogy offers a cost-effective method for producing renewable electricity, drinking water from sea water and air conditioning from the power of the sun.

Tech Entrepreneur – Darren Kimura focuses on Sopogy

April 16, 2007

Sopogy on Pacificnews.net

By Caryl Nishioka

By: PacificNews.Net

Cover

Darren Kimura is not your ordinary entrepreneur. When he was just 19, he started his company, Energy Industries Holdings, Inc. and encountered many challenges such as his first rejected sale. But, through his open mind and great listening skills, he overcame many obstacles to becoming the super tech entrepreneur that he is today.

Born and raised in Hilo, Kimura got started in technology when he was a student at Waiakea Intermediate School. He worked on the early “Apple” computer and enjoyed programming and teaching computer sciences to the faculty. When Kimura moved on to UH at Manoa, he worked in the Information and Computer Sciences Department, and that experience helped him found Nalu Communications, an early’ stage ISP. While at Nalu, he discovered that they (and everyone else) were becoming more technocentric- using more computers, and bigger servers. and it would be a disaster if someday, all the energy supply gave way, “I realized at the core of technology was energy, and that disruptions in the energy supply could disrupt all opportunities in technology. From there , I became fascinated with saving , energy through conservation strategies and how to create energy efficiently.”

Kimura loves helping people become energy-efficient. His talent saves his clients a lot of money, and then his clients use a portion of that savin to pay for his services. “This is a win-win situation, not often found in business,” says Kimura. “My work allows me to fight global warming, improve energy stability, and help future generations. These things are really important to me and being able to contribute to these goals helps me feel very satisfied about our business.” And satisfied he is. A typical day for Kimura is starting the day at 6 a.m. driving to town from Ewa, stopping for his morning coffee , arriving at the office at around 6:45 and answering outstanding e-mail or voicemail. He then handles back-to-back staff meetings or client appointments until 6 p.m. From 6 – 7 he’s catching up and leaving for home, getting back to Ewa at around 7:30 p.m., eating dinner with his wife and daughter, and then getting back on the computer from 9 p.m. to midnight when he can really get some work done.

Kimura’s biggest challenge in his work is overcoming predispositions, namely people’s images of the way things should be. When he started the business, Kimura struggled to get meetings with customers or even potential employees, because he was only 19 and nobody took him seriously. “This is an example of the predisposition we spend a tremendous amount of time overcoming and the same can be found in our industry. Our service is to get people to take control of their energy systems, which saves them a lot of money. Yet people resist, because it’s just easier to remain status quo. “Helping them know what they don’t know is a big part of our work,” says Kimura.
He recalls trying to sell a large energy upgrade project to a large, local bank, and after persistently trying to get a meeting with the bank president, finally got the appointment. But not even five minutes into his presentation, the bank president stopped him, and told him how disgusted she was with his presentation. “She told me that I was a terrible sales person, that I spoke too fast , that my presentation made no sense, and that she would never buy what I was selling . Then she asked me to leave and told me how I completely wasted her time” Kimura recalled.

It could easily have been the worst appointment he ever had, but it was the best lesson he ever leamed. Kimura was very discouraged. A few days after that meeting, he was still bothered by the experience and wanted closure. Kimura asked the bank president to critique him and she was brutally frank. She invited him to come back in two weeks if he cleaned up his act, so Kimura took her comments and criticisms, and two weeks later, he went back and instantly signed her up.

Kimura’s wisdom is attributed mainly to leaming a lot at an eady age. Through Kimura’s persistence and winning never-say-die attitude, he has kept a thriving energy solutions business going for 14 years now. His main goal was to create long-term energy and cost savings for
his clients , first with Energy Industries, a multidivisional, intemational company located throughout the U. Sc, Guam, and Hong Kong. Today, he is the president and CEO of Sopogy, a solar-power technology company invented and based in Hawaii, whose solar panels produce electricity and drinking water from seawater and air conditioning , and
have the potential to be the world ’s most cost-effective and robust solar technology.

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Exhibitions and Activites

April 15, 2007

Exhibits & Events

Sopogy, Inc: (Left) Jim Maskrey, Vice President of Sales and Business Development

Technology and Internet Expo – Blaisdell Exposition Hall April 13, 2007
Reach 70% business, 30% consumer and a 100% High-Technology audience!
The Technology and Internet Expo is the only event throughout the State of Hawaii to offer a unique opportunity for consumers and businesses in both public and private sectors to interact, network, and explore new and future technology solutions. Showcase of New Products and Services.Through seminars, exhibits, and live presentations, the Technology and Internet Expo allows companies the opportunity to showcase their newest products and innovations live and in-person

Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair – Blaisdell Exposition Hall April 4, 2007
The Science Fair is an enrichment program which stimulates interest in science and engineering and encourages entry into a science related career. Excellence of student achievement is recognized and rewarded. Students have the opportunity to interact personally with professional scientists and engineers in the program. Exhibits at school, district, and state levels serve to educate the public about science and engineering.

Over one hundred agencies join the Hawaii Academy of Science in giving awards that total more than one hundred thousand dollars in value and include cash and scholarships, trophies, medals, certificates, journals and books. Around two hundred scientists recruited by the Academy serve as judges. An additional 75 judges from the awarding agencies also judge projects. The exhibits at the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall are viewed by more than 5,000 people.

Hawaii State Legislature Science and Technology Fair – State Capitol April 3, 2007

Hawaii State Students Engineering Fair – Blaisdell Exposition Hall April 2, 2007
Hawai’i State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF) is the oldest and largest science education program in Hawai’i and continues to enjoy the support of the scientific, business, and education communities in the state. Over 6,000 students participate in the science fair program each year, with about 400 reaching the HSSEF.

Sopogy is selected to present at Cleantech 2007

April 12, 2007

 

Cleantech 2007, TechConnect Summit and the Nanotech Ventures 2007 Conference has invited Sopogy, Inc. to present. Several hundred companies applied and 30 companies were asked to present.

About Cleantech 2007

The Cleantech Conference and Trade Show

Cleantech 2007 is a multi-disciplinary and multi-sector conference on global sustainability addressing advancements in traditional technologies, emerging technologies and clean business practices. The mission of Cleantech 2007 is to bring together the entire cleantech ecosystem with the goal of accelerating the flow of technologies from the research phase to the viable market phase. We do this by linking scientists, engineers and researchers with potential business, financial and government partners. The Cleantech ecosystem enables a growing set of knowledge-based technologies, products or services designed to improve operational performance, productivity or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste or pollution.

Cleantech 2007 is collocated with the 10th annual Nanotech 2007 Conference, the largest nanotechnology and associated ventures and investment event in the US. The co-location of Cleantech 2007 and Nanotech 2007 is an ideal match due to many overlapping technologies and industries represented by both communities.

View Cleantech 2007 Program Committe.


Boom in Green Technologies (Russian Portal of Mass Information for Entrepreneurs)

April 6, 2007

Last year, the investment in new companies involved in “green” technologies, tripled, and the trend continues.

Президент настойчиво продвигает идею инвестирования в альтернативные источники энергии, а “Неудобная правда” (“Inconvenient Truth”), документальный фильм Альберта Гора о проблемах глобального потепления, получает две номинации на “Оскар”, что только подливает масла в огонь.The President is pushing the idea of investing in alternative energy sources, and “Inconvenient truth” ( “Inconvenient Truth”), documentary Al Gore on the problems of global warming, receives two nominations for “Oscar”, which only adds fuel to the fire. Кран открыли на полную!Crane opened to the full! Сегодня “зеленые” проекты финансируются как никогда.The “green” projects are being financed than ever. Вот самые свежие примеры:Here are the latest examples :

– Наша сегодняшняя статья, посвященная A123Systems, компании по производству ионно-литиевых батареек для более совершенных электромобилей, которая только что получила $40 миллионов инвестиций.- Our today’s article on A123Systems companies for the production of lithium batteries for more sophisticated vehicles, which had just received a $ 40 million investment.

– Компания Nexterra Energy из Ванкувера, разработчик систем переработки отходов в энергию на основе газификации, получила третью очередь финансирования в размере $6,8 миллиона от группы инвесторов во главе с ARC Financial.- Company Nexterra Energy from Vancouver, a developer of waste-to-energy through gasification, won third place funding in the amount of $ 6.8 million from a group of investors led by ARC Financial.

– Sopogy из Гонолулу, компания-разработчик технологий концентрации солнечной энергии, вышла наконец из длительного (шестилетнего) инкубационного периода и, как сообщает VentureWire (информация доступна только для подписчиков), получила $3 миллиона ангельского финансирования.- Sopogy from Honolulu-technology company concentrating solar energy, will go a long (six) incubation period, and, according to VentureWire (available only to subscribers), a $ 3 million angelski funding.

– Компания Sulfurcell из Берлина, производитель солнечных модулей с использованием тонкопленочных гелиотехнологий (позволяющих наносить фотоэлементы на крыши и покрытие парковок), получила почти $10 миллионов во втором раунде финансирования.- Company Sulfurcell from Berlin, a manufacturer of solar modules, using thin-film technologies (which cause cells to the roof and the garage), received nearly $ 10 million in the second round funding. Группу инвесторов возглавил фонд Masdar Clean Tech Fund LP, управляемый Credit Suisse Group.The investors led by the Masdar Clean Tech Fund LP, managed by Credit Suisse Group. В группу также вошли прежние инвесторы компании, в том числе инвестор-ангел Engelbert Giesen, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Vattenfall Europe AG и Ventegis Capital.The group also included former investment companies, including investor-angel Engelbert Giesen, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Vattenfall Europe AG and Ventegis Capital. На сегодняшний день общий объем финансирования компании составил $32 миллиона.To date, the total funding amounted to $ 32 million. Подобными проектами занимаются и компании Силиконовой Долины Miasole и Nanosolar.Similar projects in the company and Silicon Valley Miasole and Nanosolar.

– Ванкуверская компания Day4 Energy получила еще $11 миллионов на продвижение на рынке своих высокоэффективных солнечных панелей.- Vancouver company Day4 Energy has received $ 11 million to advance in the market of high-performance solar panels. Финансирование возглавил фонд British Columbia Discovery Fund, который ранее вложил в компанию $2,8 миллиона.Financing by the British Columbia Discovery Fund, which had invested in the company $ 2.8 million. /VentureBeat, 26 марта // VentureBeat, 26 March.

Henry Montgomery Joins the Board of Directors of Sopogy, Inc.

March 22, 2007

Sopogy Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: March 22, 2007

Subject: Henry Montgomery joins Sopogy, Inc’s Board of Directors

Contact: Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO

Tel: (808) 216-3478

email: dkimura@sopogy.org

Henry Montgomery Joins Sopogy, Inc’s Board of Directors

Honolulu, HI – Sopogy, Inc. announced today that Henry Montgomery has joined its board of directors. Mr. Montgomery has more than 40 years of experience in financial and corporate management, and currently is the chairman and founder of Montgomery Professional Services Corporation. He has held various positions in many high-tech companies including Theta Microelectronics, Spectrian Corporation, Pinnacle Micro, SyQuest Technology, Memorex Corporation, Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation. He also held positions with McKinsey & Company and Arthur Andersen & Company. Montgomery is currently chairman and audit committee member of Swift Energy Company, chairman of the board and audit committee chairman of Catalyst Semiconductor, Inc. and is on the Board of Directors of QuickLogic Corporation. He’s also active in a number of civic and academic organizations and recently co-authored “Enron Provides Lessons on Audits for Accountants and Public Companies” for the Washington Legal Foundation, and “Directors Need to Set the Tone” for the Silicon Valley Biz Ink. He holds a BA degree in Economics from Miami University in Oxford , Ohio.

About Sopogy, Inc.

Sopogy, Inc. (www.sopogy.org) is dedicated to enabling the renewable energy economy by dramatically increasing energy production through widespread use of its Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technologies. Sopogy offers a cost-effective method for producing electricity and by-products that include steam, desalination, hydrogen, absorption cooling and hot water heating.

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For additional information about Sopogy, Inc., please contact Darren Kimura, President & CEO at (808) 216-3478 .