LightManufacturing Inc. Celebrates A Year of Sustainable Water Tank Production on the Big Island

April 11 21:36 2022
LightManufacturing Inc. Celebrates A Year of Sustainable Water Tank Production on the Big Island
On a lush island far from the tech hubs of Silicon Valley or Austin, a revolutionary factory silently points the way to a more sustainable future

Solar technology company LightManufacturing recently achieved an important milestone on the Big Island of Hawai’i: the firm now molds up to six large water tanks a day – using only solar energy. Sun-tracking mirrors concentrate heat onto molds, melting food-grade plastic without fumes or noise while photovoltaic panels provide electricity for motors that turn the molds. Greenhouse emissions from LightManufacturing’s patented molding systems? Zero. And with zero energy costs, the company can offer locally-made tanks to the Island at competitive prices. 

“Many Big Island residents rely on rain catchment for household water,” says LightManufacturing founder Karl von Kries, “…so we see a great fit between our ability to make tanks on the Island and the community’s needs”.

LightManufacturing builds the solar factories into shipping containers, making them easy to deploy. Lattice-like structures the firm calls ‘pods’ support the mirrors without cement anchors or post holes. 

The nearly-silent operation at the firm’s facility obscures its radical mission. In solar thermal energy the company sees aa path to reinvent a global smokestack industry, with benefits to both the consumer and the planet. “We’re all used to paying more for a sustainable product,” says von Kries, “but here on the Big Island, the greener tank costs less”. 

The company’s innovations feel at home in their Island base – the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) research campus in Kona. “It’s an amazing group of businesses and reasearchers, some of whom are now our customers”, says von Kries. “We are grateful for the support we’ve received from the community and the State of Hawaii through the NELHA team”.

LightManufacturing tanks serve customers for rain catchment, gardening, backup water storage, and commercial aquaculture. “I’m sure there are other uses that we haven’t heard about yet. It’s thrilling to fulfill a need and learn how we can enhance the community’s life.”

What else might the company make? The list includes septic tanks, truck transport tanks, boat coolers, dock floats, traffic bollards, and more. “We invite the community to tell us what they need – if there’s enough demand and we can make it on-Island we will”. 

For more information and to order products online, visit

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