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Habitat Completes First ‘Off-The-Grid’ Home

Molokai Habitat for Humanity News Release

With the help from Hawaii’s leading residential solar company, RevoluSun, Molokai Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the dedication and blessing of its 19th completed home for the Kaai `Ohana. This will be Hawaii Habitat’s first “off-grid” home on Hawaiian Home Lands, as well as the first home built by Molokai Habitat with a renewable energy system.

“We are so excited because this is the first home for Habitat for Humanity nationally that is off-the-grid,” said Emillia Noordhoek, Resource Development Director for Molokai Habitat. “Molokai has the highest cost of living in the state and we are one of the most isolated islands. We wanted to build a home that would be affordable for the family and be best for our ‘aina.”

The journey to this projects completion was one of sweat, love, commitment, and of course, genuine hard work. The high cost to install the house’s electrical infrastructure – quoted by MECO at $30,000 – led to the opportunity of using renewable energy.

It was then that Molokai Habitat realized this was the opportunity they needed to build a simple, decent, and affordable home which included its own renewable energy. How can housing be affordable to the homeowner if the hidden cost of utilities is $300-$500 per month? The blessing and answer to this question came through Oahu’s Solar Contractor RevoluSun.

RevoluSun generously donated their time and labor for the design and installation of the solar system. The 21-panel SunPower photovoltaic system generates 21 kWh of electricity per day and contains three days of battery storage. Seven RevoluSun team members volunteered to install the system which took six days to complete. Young Brothers benevolently provided the shipping of all materials for the system free of charge.

“We are glad to have the opportunity to give back to the community,” said Eric Carlson, RevoluSun principal. “Molokai Habitat for Humanity wanted to build a house utilizing solar energy, so we met with the team and designed a system that would allow the family to have their energy needs provided by the sun.”

RevoluSun’s partnership with Molokai Habitat enforced their support and commitment to the goal of affordable housing and creating the reality that affordable housing can and should be green with renewable energy.

The Kaai `Ohana is more than deserving in their dream of home ownership through partnership with Molokai Habitat for Humanity. They have put in well over their 700 sweat equity hours building the homes of other partner families, volunteering at Molokai Habitat’s functions/events, and most importantly the construction of their own home. Through all the obstacles and set-backs, the Kaai `Ohana consistently composed a positive attitude and unwavering faith in the dream of someday owning their own home.

“We wanted more for ourselves and our children, so Habitat was the way to go,” said Liz Kaai, “Habitat was the ‘bomb’ and we love the volunteer process because it has allowed us to contribute sweat equity to a home we can call ours.”

The Kaai `Ohana – David, Liz and children Daizha, Davelynn, Braddah, and Nikolai – applied for a Habitat Home because they rented all their life and realized that they would never be able to qualify and afford to own their own home through conventional means. Molokai Habitat for Humanity has three criteria that potential partner families have to meet: they need to be between 25-60 percent of the gross median income for the County of Maui, have the ability to repay a 20 year, 0 percent interest loan, and most importantly they need to be willing to contribute 700 sweat equity hours towards the building of their home as well as the home of other Molokai Habitat partner families.

The Kaai’s now have the opportunity to live in a home in which they are essentially their own electric company, with the capability of regulating and maintaining their renewable energy system with the independence, responsibilities and joys of owning their own home.

This project was a labor of love and commitment from all individuals and organizations involved. Molokai Habitat is grateful to the Kaai `Ohana for their commitment, hard work, and attitude of love and generosity towards Molokai Habitat’s mission, donors, partner families, and volunteers. Without the generosity and support of RevoluSun this project would still be a dream. We cannot express our appreciation enough, and we hope their commitment to affordable renewable energy projects inspire others to partner with Habitat affiliates throughout Hawaii in making the dream of affordable energy independence a reality.

“We are a non-profit organization and rely on these types of partnerships and donations to provide affordable housing to families on Molokai,” Noordhoek said. “We want to thank RevoluSun and Young Brothers who shipped the components at no cost from Honolulu to Molokai. We’re extremely grateful to all of our partner families and volunteers for their generous support. Through these partnerships we are able to continue to grow our capacity and expand our reach to deserving families, providing options and opportunities for homeownership on Molokai.”

This will be Molokai Habitat for Humanity’s 19th completed home since becoming an affiliate in 1998. The Kaai `Ohana will officially become first-time homeowners of this blessed project in a dedication ceremony which will be held on November 12, 2010.

If you or anyone you know would like to help Molokai Habitat for Humanity in furthering its mission of eliminating poverty housing on Molokai, donations can be sent to:

Molokai Habitat for Humanity
P.O. Box 486
Hoolehua, HI 96729

About Molokai Habitat for Humanity
Molokai Habitat for Humanity became an affiliate in 1998, with its main intention of serving the low-income families on the island of Molokai. With the highest rates of unemployment and cost of living in the State of Hawaii, Molokai Habitat recognized the severity of the islands affordable housing crisis. Molokai Habitat’s mission is to eliminate poverty housing on Molokai, with the goal of giving homeowners a “hand-up” not a “hand-out”. Molokai Habitat also recently initiated a home renovation program as part of its efforts in assisting families to keep their current home, while making it safer and more energy efficient. For more information about Molokai Habitat for Humanity and its commitment to providing affordable housing to Molokai’s families, call (808) 560-5444 or visit molokaihabitat.org

About RevoluSun

RevoluSun, a D/E/P company, is Hawaii’s leading provider of residential solar photovoltaic and hot water systems. RevoluSun offers free, understandable, energy evaluations to its clients, which allow for customized systems based on each home’s unique energy needs. Together the founders oversaw the sales, design, and installation of $30 million in renewable energy in 2008, which accounted for 30 percent of all renewable energy systems in Hawaii, prior to founding D/E/P Hawaii in 2009. Providing the very best in service, technology and design for homeowners interested in residential solar systems, D/E/P and RevoluSun together are 25 staff members and growing. For more information about RevoluSun and D/E/P, visit www.RevoluSun.com and/or www.DEPhawaii.com or call (808) 788-8888

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