Solar San Antonio Executive Director Lanny Sinkin
Solar San Antonio Executive Director Lanny Sinkin

Solar San Antonio (SSA) Executive Director Lanny Sinkin said he will be stepping down from his position at the solar advocacy nonprofit to work full time in his role for the Kingdom of Hawai’i as chief advisor to King Edmund Keli’i Silva Jr.

Lanny Sinkin spent 17 years in Hawaii before coming to San Antonio in 2009 to care for his late father, SSA founder, civil rights activist, and community organizer William “Bill” Sinkin, after Lanny’s mother, Fay Sinkin – who had an equally impressive legacy – passed away.  Bill Sinkin, the co-president of HemisFair ’68, founded SSA in 1999.

Lanny said in a Monday evening interview that he had planned to leave in about two weeks, but has decided to remain as executive director until the end of the year for a smooth transition. Sinkin said he likely will serve as a consultant to SSA for a few months after his move to Hawaii. The SSA board, Sinkin said, will be responsible for deciding what course the organization takes in the future.

Normal operations will continue at SSA, including the Bring Solar Home program, a simple application program that connects homeowners to local solar installers for competitive bids on installations.

SSA also recently submitted a “dynamic” proposal to CPS Energy in response to the public utility’s community solar request for proposals (RFP), Sinkin said.

“We (SSA) already have the marketing side down,” Lanny said. “And we would partner with a private company for the construction side.”

Proposals were originally due on Oct. 31 but the deadline was extended to Nov. 7. A decision should be coming soon as part of the RFP requires that a full megawatt of solar panels be installed and producing electricity by March 31, 2015.

(Read More: Coming Soon: Accessible, Affordable Community Solar)

Sinkin is also looking forward to SSA expanding its annual Solar Fest into a larger Eco Fest that “features energy efficient products and all other aspects of sustainable energy programs.”

Recognizing that solar power is not a silver bullet to solving the world’s energy needs and the global climate change emergency, the Eco Fest will be held at the William R. Sinkin Eco Centro at San Antonio College, which has a focus on renewable energy and sustainability.

Bill Sinkin passed away eight months ago at age 100.

“I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to help San Antonio become number six in the nation in solar deployment and positioned to rank even higher when the OCI project is completed.  I believe that Solar San Antonio made a significant contribution to that achievement.  I know that my father would be happy to see his dream of solar coming true so substantially,” Sinkin stated in a press release Tuesday morning.

Lanny Sinkin (left) sits with his father, Bill Sinkin, who turned 100 on May 19, 2013 and passed away Feb. 3, 2014. Bill holds a photo of himself wearing the velvet suit he wore to school at age six. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Lanny Sinkin (left) sits with his father, Bill Sinkin, who turned 100 on May 19, 2013 and passed away Feb. 3, 2014. Bill holds a photo of himself wearing the velvet suit he wore to school at age six. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

“Lanny Sinkin has been a true leader in clean sustainable energy. We are very appreciative of his work in San Antonio. We look forward to continuing the legacy created by Bill Sinkin and furthered by Lanny,” Solar San Antonio Board Chairman Laurence Doxsey stated. “We have a number of innovative projects on the books to increase the opportunities for people to go solar. Solar San Antonio will continue our mission of making San Antonio an international leader in renewable energy.”

“It’s time to come home,” Lanny said of the call he received from colleagues in the Kingdom of Hawai’i.

The Kingdom, according to an executive summary on its website is “in the process of being reactivated and restored.” A process that recently gained momentum and national attention when the U.S. Department of the Interior attempted to establish “government-to-government relationship the United States and the Native Hawaiian community.”

The summer meetings were met with protest by many, including Silva’s supporters, that want the reestablishment of a nation, not just a government, which includes a “non-native” population as it did before the Kingdom was overthrown in 1893.

There have been many claims to “the kingdom” of Hawaii in its history.

“About 200 people probably have some sort of lineage to the throne,” Lanny said. “My guy (Silva) is the only one that hasn’t fallen flat.”

Silva has a convoluted history of criminal accusations and convictions of fraud, and other groups claiming “their king” is the rightful heir would disagree with Sinkin, as reported by Brian Chasnoff in a 2011 San Antonio Express-News interview.

“(Silva) walks in the long line of people who have been unjustly put in prison for their political activities. He was imprisoned precisely because those who did not want the Kingdom restored believed he could achieve that goal,” Sinkin stated in an email Tuesday morning.

Congress officially “apologized” for the illegal invasion and takeover of the Kingdom in 1993 – 100 years later – in the “Apology Resolution.”

“When we called for secession from the U.S., ‘secession’ was an incorrect word,” Sinkin said. “Hawaii was never legally annexed.”

The Kingdom of Hawai’i calls for an “end to the (United States) occupation, restore the lawful government and build a peaceful, stable, prosperous and secure society for all the people living in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Lanny’s official position as chief advisor, as defined by Queen Liliu’okalani (1838-1917) just before the overthrow, is to “be the King’s trusted advisor to say what needs to be said without fear of punishment or reprisal.”

“I will continue my work in restoring the Kingdom of Hawai’i as an independent nation,” Sinkin stated in a release. “I invite everyone to visit and read the Vision and Plan for the restored nation.  I also look forward to spending time with my beloved whales and dolphins.”

Associated Press/Rivard Report style note: The State of Hawaii is a U.S. government title. When referring to the nation or movement to restore sovereignty, the Kingdom of Hawai’i is used.

*Featured/top image: Solar San Antonio Executive Director Lanny Sinkin. Courtesy photo.

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at