Building And Sustaining
Owner of Renewable Energy Technologies and Nathan Wood General Contractor
Please tell us about your business.
Nathan Wood General Contractor is a licensed general contractor — everything from remodels to new-home construction. We’re also a solar power systems and electrical contractor. Renewable Energy Technologies is our renewable division and is primarily solar photovoltaic. We do between 70 and 80 residential systems a year, and between five and 10 commercial systems. We work everywhere on the island.
How has the demand for solar been in recent years?
The demand has increased mainly because of the addition of new solar tax credits. They are still 30 percent from the federal government and 35 percent from the state. But there are certain caps instituted that the state has put in place. Depending on the system size, it will affect the amount of tax credits. We are happy to work with our clients to determine what those credits will be.
We also do on-site assessments for our customers and are very detailed on the engineering. We’ll look at their usage and what their habits are inside of the home, and try to see if there are areas where we can reduce their consumption prior to putting the solar in.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Seeing the finished product and bringing sustainable renewable energy to Kauai.
We have some of the highest costs of electricity in the nation, and we are highly dependent on fossil fuels. We’re burning oil to generate the majority of our electricity here. Using a renewable resource such as the sun can reduce the use of fossil fuels for generation of electricity, as well as fueling electric cars, therefore reducing the amount of oil that goes into gasoline. So I think it’s important both for economics and for the environment.
How does a solar photovoltaic system work?It uses the sun’s energy to generate electricity that is pushed out into your home to supply your household items, such as your refrigerator, washer and dryer. It has a great return on investment financially because of the tax credit. The average system pays for itself in about three-and-a-half years, and they’re under warranty for 25 years.
Why did you start this business? From an early age I was interested in renewable energy like hydro-electric. Growing up on Kauai, it was important for me to see something that’s going to be sustainable long term.
What makes you get up every day and go to work?
I really enjoy the work I do, and I really enjoy the people I work with. It’s a great team that we built here, and it’s an important cause to bring renewable energy to Kauai. We have about 14 employees. We are heavily involved in all of our projects. I’m on the job site and that’s important to me — to bring quality to everything we do.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your business?
Controlling our growth so that we can still maintain the highest-quality product.
Making sure that, as we grow, we grow at a rate where we can uphold all the things we believe in.
What’s your business philosophy?
We do what we promise, and we don’t overpromise and underdeliver. We’re always doing what we say and stand by our word.
What sets your business apart from others?
The ability for me to be personally involved. I’m the owner of the company, but I’ll also be on the roof at the job site, in many cases working on the design and engineering. So our quality of equipment and quality of installation standards are high.
6495 Kuamoo Road, Kapaa