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Sopogy begins Kalaeloa project

Honolulu-based Sopogy Inc. broke ground Wednesday on a renewable energy project in West Oahu that will generate electricity using the company’s proprietary concentrated solar power technology.

Sopogy will build the 5-megawatt facility on land in Kalaeloa leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Sopogy’s technology features curved panels with reflective coating that direct sunlight onto a pipe carrying oil. The hot oil is carried to a boiler, where it’s converted into steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity. Sopogy said its system also has built-in thermal storage that enables it to still supply electricity for short periods at night or during cloudy conditions.

Sopogy said a 2-megawatt concentrated solar power project in Kona it has operated since March 2009 "demonstrates the effectiveness and reliability" of the technology.

FCC fines Verizon Wireless $25M

NEW YORK » Verizon Wireless has agreed to pay a fine of $25 million and at least $52.8 million in refunds to customers who inadvertently racked up data charges on their phones over the last three years, federal regulators said yesterday.

The Federal Communications Commission said the fine is the largest in its history.

To forestall action by the FCC, Verizon Wireless said earlier this month that it would issue refunds, mostly of $2 to $6, to about 15 million subscribers. It didn’t give a total value for the refunds.

Mortgage rates edge up to 4.23%

WASHINGTON » Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages rose slightly this week to an average of 4.23 percent, just above the lowest level in decades.

The average rate for 30-year fixed loans inched up from 4.21 percent the previous week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said yesterday. Earlier in the month, rates fell to 4.19 percent, the lowest average on records dating back to 1971.

The average rate on 15-year fixed loans rose to 3.66 percent. That was up from 3.64 percent a week earlier.

Rates on one-year adjustable-rate mortgages remained at an average of 3.3 percent.

McDonald’s to pay fat worker $17.5K

SAO PAULO » A Brazilian court ruled this week that Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s must pay a former franchise manager $17,500 because he gained 65 pounds while working there for a dozen years.

The 32-year-old man said he felt forced to sample the food each day to ensure quality standards remained high, because McDonald’s hired "mystery clients" to randomly visit restaurants and report on the food, service and cleanliness.

The man also said the company offered free lunches to employees, adding to his caloric intake while on the job. His identity was not released.

The ruling was signed Tuesday by Judge Joao Ghisleni Filho in Porto Alegre.

Filho said McDonald’s could appeal the case, and the Brazilian headquarters of the chain said in an e-mailed statement yesterday it was weighing its legal options.

McDonald’s also noted that it offers more healthful food choices.

"The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees," the company said in the statement.

On the Move

Matson Navigation Co. has promoted Vic Angoco to senior vice president. His experience with the company includes work as country manager, Guam; manager, container operations; and manager, national accounts and eastern area sales. He has also served as vice president and general manager and vice president, sales and marketing, for Young Bros. Ltd./Hawaiian Tug & Barge.


Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert has hired Rebecca A. Copeland as a new associate. She has worked as a deputy solicitor general in the state of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General appellate division; and as a judicial clerk for two appellate courts, including service to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals under Judge John S.W. Lim.


Hale Ka Lae has named Michael J. Greco as chief operating officer. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the development industry, including as vice president of construction for Fifield Realty Corp., where he oversaw the development of Allure Waikiki. The Hale Ka Lae luxury residences (formerly Hale Alii) will be located at 7000 Hawaii Kai Drive and are set to break ground this spring.


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