Haleakala Solar sold to California company

The Maui News – Kahului-headquartered Haleakala Solar has been sold to California-based PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, which has plans for significant expansion of the four-decade-old photovoltaic, battery storage and water heater installation company.

PetersenDean made the announcement Thursday. The terms of the sale were not released.

Jim Whitcomb, founder of Haleakala Solar, approached Jim Petersen, CEO and president of the privately held PetersenDean Roofing & Solar, late last year for “a strategic purchase,” according to the news release.

“It seemed like the perfect synergy between the two companies,” he said. “We share a commitment to excellence, and PetersenDean’s size, organization and impeccable reputation will take the company to a new level.”

PetersenDean, founded in 1984 by Petersen and based in Fresno, Calif., specializes in new residential and commercial construction, the news release said. The company employs 3,000 workers in eight states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and now Hawaii.

“PetersenDean is a perfect fit for Hawaii given our size and product offerings,” said Petersen.

Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable energy mandate by 2045 also made the deal attractive, according to Gary Liardon, who is president of the Consumer Division of PetersenDean and will be leading the transition.

“Solar is a critical part of the state’s energy portfolio. The islands are a virtual incubator for all new technology,” he said.

Liardon noted that Hawaii already boasts some of the highest shares of renewable energy in the country and that all islands run separate electric grids, isolated from the stability of neighboring grids.

“That’s made them a natural testing ground for new technologies and regulatory models, including battery-backed solar and wind farms, aggregated demand response and energy storage, peak-shifting electric vehicle charging, and voltage-smoothing smart inverters and grid power electronics,” he said.

The new owner’s planned expansion will increase employment at Haleakala Solar, which currently operates on three islands, from the current 125 workers to more than 1,000 and grow sales to $100 million in the next two years, the PetersenDean news release said.

Haleakala Solar currently operates on Maui, Oahu and Kauai and said it plans to expand to a fourth island, which is likely the Big Island.

Whitcomb will stay on “and take an active role in the sales development segment of the company in Hawaii,” said Liardon.

“When the time came to hand over the reins,” Whitcomb said, it only made sense to sell to one of the largest PV installers in the U.S.

Whitcomb started Haleakala Solar in 1977 as Haleakala Resources, a one-man operation that installed solar water heaters, the Haleakala Solar website said. When the Mideast oil embargo hit and oil and power prices spiked, his company benefited from the new interest in renewable energy. The company later expanded to two other islands and began installing PV and battery storage systems.

In its 40 years, Haleakala Solar has completed more than 15,000 projects, the news release said.

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