The First Solar Powered Movie Theater in Hawaii

Hilo, Hawaii—December 2016

It’s about time!

The Palace Theater, built in downtown Hilo, Hawai’i in 1925, is one of the more prominent public buildings constructed in the early 20th century.

By setting the stage with a “reduce, then produce” theme, the historic theater has undergone extensive energy efficiency upgrades and is now going solar electric.

With the flip of the solar switch, the Palace Theater will be deriving 100 percent of its power needs from the sun. The roof-mounted system, installed by Hilo-based ProVision Solar, consists of 81 high-efficiency SunPower modules with a peak power output of 26.5 kilowatts.

The photovoltaic system will save the Palace Theater an estimated $15,000-$18,000 annually and will prevent over 700 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere over the course of its lifetime.

According to Friends of the Palace Board President, Wendy Peskin, “In August 2015, the Board made comfort a priority. Our patrons and performers deserve to enjoy events in a cool theater.”  Continued Peskin, “To air condition the theater, we first needed to lower our electric bills. Engineering Partners is currently working on a design for the AC system. Retrofitting a 90 year-old building is a challenge.”

Funding for the project was a concerted effort by the Friends of the Palace Theater, individual contributors and various public entities. As Executive Director Morgen Bahurinsky noted “The generous donors in East Hawaii helped us accomplish a great many upgrades including this innovative solar electric system. We achieved our goal to fund the photovoltaic system in less than a year.  We felt that it was imperative that we should restore this centerpiece of Hilo to its former comfort level.”

Both Peskin and Bahurinsky emphasized that the Hilo community and the County of Hawaii were the reasons the Palace has accomplished this first step.


Media contacts:

Morgen Bahurinsky, 934-7010,

Kim Keahiolalo, 969-3281,

About ProVision Solar: Established in Hilo in 1998, ProVision has designed and installed solar electric systems for homes and businesses across the islands and is located at 69 Railroad Ave.