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Star Power

July 2, 2009
Debra Lordan · Editor/General Manager

For the second year in a row, a portion of the Maui Film Festival was powered by the Earth’s closest star. Festival organizers teamed up with local businesses to harness the sun’s energy to fire up the Celestial Cinema in Wailea.

Rising Sun Solar and Sharp Solar installed a solar electric system that produced power during the day, which offset the energy used to run the lights, film and action. The glitterati never shined so brightly.

The festival’s ultimate goal is to hold a 100 percent carbon-neutral event by running the photovoltaic system long enough to offset the power used at all festival locations. Maui Film Festival’s Barry Rivers should be acknowledged as an innovative supporter of green energy, leading by example in the film industry and in our community.

Rising Sun’s goal was to demystify solar technology and showcase its cost effectiveness. They strived to demonstrate how solar energy can benefit the environment as an alternative to oil-fueled electricity.

But even if you missed the film festival, you still have an opportunity to see this technology in action and learn what it is, how it works, and how it decreases our dependence on oil. On Saturday, July 11, the nonprofit Hawai‘i PV Coalition will hold Maui’s Fourth Annual “House of the Sun Solar Tour,” inviting Maui residents to get a first-hand look at solar technology through a tour of homes and businesses that use solar energy.

During the tour, residents can learn how their neighbors increase their energy independence, reduce global warming—and their electric bills. The tour will feature property owners and experts who will discuss the environmental and financial aspects of solar power, including the huge state and federal tax credits now available. The tour spotlight will also shine upon Maui Community College’s solar hot water lab and the new Dowling Waste Water Treatment Plant in Makena.

The event is free and open to the public. Tour hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., and will feature properties throughout Maui. Participants must register to attend the tour at or by calling 579-8288.

Meanwhile, our stars in Washington continue their discussions on the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, which, if passed into law, will begin to move the country toward a clean, green economy. In addition, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and others have authored the bipartisan American Independence and Clean Energy Act to make the Waxman-Markey bill more effective. Its ultimate goal is to create new sources of revenue to pay for full development of alternative and renewable energy.

Abercrombie said, “President Obama understands that it’s critical, when individuals, families and businesses are stretched to the limit just to get by, to find a path to a cleaner, greener, American energy future without increasing their financial burden.”

Hawai‘i is more dependent on imported fossil fuel than any other state in the nation. Energy independence will determine our economic future. Let’s hitch our wagon to that star.



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