Friendly Market Goes Green

363 solar panels provide power.

Andy Cazzato of ProVision Technologies (left) and Jeff Egusa, co-owner of Friendly Market stand among newly-installed solar panels on the roof of Friendly Market. Andy Cazzato of ProVision Technologies (left) and Jeff Egusa, co-owner of Friendly Market stand among newly-installed solar panels on the roof of Friendly Market.

By Catherine Cluett

Taking the leap to renewable energy is something most people wish they could do. The Egusa family, owners of Friendly Market Center, has shown us it’s possible. Solar panels will now produce about a quarter of the energy needed by Friendly Market. “Electricity costs are crazy and I hate being dependant on fossil fuel,” says Friendly’s co-owner Crystal Egusa.

Andy Cazzato of ProVision Technologies, a Hilo-based company specializing in solar electric energy, installed the system with the help of his crew in a little under three weeks. The system includes invertors to convert the DC energy from the solar panels to AC so the system can be connected to the grid.

Egusa says the project was made possible with the help of a USDA grant for renewable energy. The grant only covered about a quarter of the cost of installing the solar panels, says Egusa, but she adds that federal and state tax credit incentives for renewable energy will make the system affordable.

“Friendly Market may see all of their money come back in the next five years,” says Cazzato.

Three hundred sixty-five solar panels, measuring 13.5 square feet per module, are mounted on Friendly Market’s roof. The panels, 4883 square feet total, cover all the useful roof space, which Cazzato says means everything except areas in shadows and skylights.

On an average day, the system will produce about 400 kilowatt hours (kWh), out of the 1100kWh total used by Friendly Market, according to Cazzato. The average home uses about 16 kWh per day.

“If the panels get five hours of sun, they would produce… enough power for 80 small homes,” said Cazzato.

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