Maui Company Chosen for US Renewable Energy Program

February 12, 2013, 4:58 PM HST · Updated February 12, 5:32 PM
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Leo Caires, co-founder of Gen-X Energy Development. Courtesy photo.

Leo Caires, co-founder of Gen-X Energy Development. Courtesy photo.

By Sonia Isotov

Gen-X Energy Development, a Maui-based renewable energy technology company, is among eight companies chosen for the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research Lightning Excelerator program.

“The Excelerator program sponsored by the US Department of Energy allows us to present our new ‘SkyGrid’ (Commercial Scale Off-Grid Renewable Energy Technology) to investment mentors who will prepare us for our first round of funding for our commercialization stage,” said Leo Caires, Maui-born co-founder of Gen-X.

Located in the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei, Gen-X Energy Development LLC has been in business for over four years. Gen-X is an energy development firm with a focus on wind, solar, micro-hydro renewable energy and remote stand alone power system projects throughout the Pacific rim.

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In 2012 alone, Gen-X has a current pipeline of energy projects valued in excess of $80 million, according to its website.

The Excelerator program selected companies after reviewing applications from clean tech companies across the country.

The selected teams will participate in an intensive week of mentoring, working with customers, and pitching investors in order to develop and commercialize their clean energy technologies.

Hawi, Big Island. A Gen-X project funded by the US Dept of Energy and a private investor, The $1.7 million prototype will be Hawaii's largest commercial off-grid power system featuring Gen-X's proprietary "SkyGrid" Technology which enables customers to pump water without a utility grid. The project is expected to be completed before April 2013. Coutesy photo.

Hawi, Big Island. A Gen-X project funded by the US Dept of Energy and a private investor, The $1.7 million prototype will be Hawaii’s largest commercial off-grid power system featuring Gen-X’s proprietary “SkyGrid” Technology which enables customers to pump water without a utility grid. The project is expected to be completed before April 2013. Coutesy photo.

The Excelerator program, which is funded by the US Department of Energy, is free of charge for participants and runs from Feb. 7 to 14 in Honolulu.

The eight teams will receive mentoring and expertise from industry professionals, cleantech investors, and experienced entrepreneurs to identify major needs for the growth of their business.

Teams will be eligible for up to $90,000 of grant funding to support future business or technology development. In addition, one team will receive a State Energy Office $15,000 prize to fund a market assessment for their pre-commercial technology.

A center spokesperson explained that the geographic mix of teams from the mainland and Hawaii will benefit all participants by bringing together a diverse array of perspectives, experience, and networks for a common goal: furthering the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative through the development and deployment of new technologies in Hawaii and beyond.

The technologies cover a range of areas that are of particular interest to Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region, including: energy efficiency, electricity, transportation, data aggregation, and clean energy for agriculture. The following teams were selected:

  • Acclimate TN, Physical Tech Inc. (Big Island, Hawaii): Developing innovative technology to efficiently harvest thermal energy from solar panels;
  • Bright Light Systems (Georgia): Increasing energy efficiency through LED lighting fixtures with wireless control and real-time data for industrial customers;
  • Conscious Commuter Corporation (Oregon): Shaping urban mobility by designing and building electric bicycles and bike share systems for commuters;
  • Gen-X Energy Development LLC (Maui, Hawaii): Enabling all-renewable agricultural irrigation systems that couple wind, solar, batteries, and controls to replace diesel pumping stations;
  • kWh Analytics (California): Aggregating US solar data in order to classify the performance of solar assets across various system inputs;
  • Oceanit Smart Socket (Oahu, Hawaii): Connecting electric sockets with wireless capability to enable monitoring and management of energy across multiple platforms;
  • Renewable Water Technologies (Oahu, Hawaii): Developing a desalination process, emulating natural rainfall cycle of humidification/dehumidification using solar energy; and
  • Spectrum137 (California): Deploying highly innovative spectral irradiance sensors to optimize locations for agricultural products, photovoltaic placement, and other applications.

It is a dual pathway program consisting of: 1) a one-week Lightning Excelerator program to support startup companies with potential follow-on funding up to $90,000; and 2) a Pacific Excelerator program to drive adoption of innovative technology within Hawaii by co-funding technology demonstration projects.

The Pacific Excelerator is scheduled to start in fall 2013. http://www.hawaiirenewable.com/excelerator/.

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