Hawaii Business Magazine - Sopogy

Sun Of A Gun

By Trifonovitch, Kelli Abe

LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR DARREN KIMURA HAS ANOTHER bright idea. The founder of Energy Industries (EI), a national provider of energy services, has pumped $800,000 of the company’s money into Sopogy, a startup that has developed a proprietary solar technology best suited for coastal climates with high humidity. Places like Hawaii.

In fact, at the time of this writing, Kimura was on track to close a $1.5 million round of funding and gearing up for an October groundbreaking on a demonstration project at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELHA) in Kona. Sopogy’s specially-designed panels capture solar heat and focus that energy into a tube of heat- transfer fluid. The super-heated fluid passes through a turbine to produce electricity. The process can also create other products, such as drinking water, hot water, air conditioning, steam and hydrogen.

Investors have taken notice.

“We’ve had so much interest from [Silicon] Valley, it’s been absurd,” says Kimura. “We’ve had term sheets worth millions of dollars, but they also want you to move to the valley.” So, he hasn’t signed them. Kimura is passionate about keeping Sopogy in Hawaii, for now. For the future, he intends to follow the sun.

Kimura notes that one of the the largest IPO of 2005 was a solar company called Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP), and the man who took it public “is now the richest man in China.”

Copyright Hawaii Business Publishing Corp. Oct 01, 2006

(c) 2006 Hawaii Business. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

Source: Hawaii Business