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Hawaii Solar Power Facts in 2022

hawaii solar program

Hawaii gets sun for an average of around 270 days. These many solar days are more than the USA average. High electricity rates, a lot of sunshine, and many clear days make Hawaii one of the best US states for rooftop solar panels. 

If you want to: 

  • Significantly reduce your energy bills
  • Gain energy independence, 
  • Protect yourself from growing electricity prices, and 
  • Reduce your carbon footprint, 

then a solar energy system is a perfect solution for you. A solar panel system in Hawaii can offset over 90% of your electricity bill, save you a significant amount of money and increase the value of your home.

To get a better idea of Hawaii solar solutions that may work best for you, read on. You will find out more about a solar power system, the cost of solar panels, and how much electricity you can produce cleanly while saving money and investing in a green energy future. Your residential solar system in the Aloha state is closer than you may think. 

Hawaii Solar Energy Data

Hawaii currently ranks 16th in the USA by the total solar panel installation power. Solar water heaters and concentrated solar are not counted into the equation, so Hawaii maybe even greener than it seems. The total solar capacity in Paradise state is 1,441 MW. Considering the high energy prices in the state, it is not surprising that Hawaii moved from the 28th position in as little as a year. 

Hawaii solar panels can supply enough power to keep the appliances and lights on in more than 350,000 homes. This accounts for 17.10% of total electricity produced in this state. This number will go up as a solar power system becomes a more common sight on the rooftops of Hawaii homeowners. To understand solar in Hawaii better, compare it to solar panels in Nevada and solar panels in Michigan

The solar industry in Hawaii employs over 2,300 people, and with 120 total solar companies, there is a lot to choose from before your solar installation is put on your rooftop. Hawaii is the 5th in the USA by the number of solar jobs per capita. There are three solar manufacturers, 83 solar installers, and 34 other companies working in the sector. Solar in Hawaii supports the local economy. 

With $3.8 Billion of total investments, no wonder that solar can produce almost a fifth of the state’s total electricity. Your solar power installation, once online, will join another 94,000 + solar installations, and you will be able to see a total payback in as little as 4.5 to 5.5. years. Your renewable energy system will also save money for you – significant solar incentives and rising energy costs are reasons good enough to go solar in Paradise state. 

Hawaii Solar Statistics

DescriptionStatus
Hawaii National Ranking16th
Solar Panels Installed(MW)1,441 MW
Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)+353,400
% of State's Electricity from Solar17.10%
Solar Companies in the State120 (3 Manufacturers, 83 Installers and Developers, and 34 Others)
Solar Jobs Created2,365
Total Solar Investment in the State$3.8 Billion
Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system$14,418-$17,600
Net 20-year savings$29,500-$36,000
Average Payback Period4.5-5.5 years
Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system+ 90%
Number of Solar Installations+ 94,000

Source: SEIA.org

Notable Solar Installations in Hawaii

There are over 94,000 solar installations in Hawaii. Most of these are rooftop solar, providing electricity to households that want to reduce their electricity costs. However, Hawaii solar can also boast several large solar PV installations, some of which were pioneers in the world. What follows is a list of notable solar installations in Hawaii: 

  1. La Ola Solar Farm – 1.5 MW of solar capacity. It was the first photovoltaic power plant in the world with solar battery storage
  2. Port Allen Solar Facility – 6 MW PV solar system, with a 3MW battery storage, 
  3. Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park – 5 MW, 
  4. Anahola – a 12 MW PV array and 6 MW solar storage, 
  5. Kapaia solar project, 13 MW, with 52 MWh Tesla battery,
  6. Waipio Solar, 13.3 MW,
  7. Lāwa’i Solar, 28 MW with 100 MWh storage,
  8. Waipio Solar project, 45.9 MW, 
  9. Kawailoa Solar project, 49 MW, 
  10. Wawa Solar Project – 50 MW of capacity, enough to power 12,500 homes. 

Of course, there are many more large-scale solar power projects in Hawaii. What is notable here is that many of the projects come with solar storage that is supposed to help deliver power during nights and cloudy days. After all, Hawaii is a group of islands far away from the mainland, so Hawaii’s power grid has to be self-reliant even with the abundance of the sun’s energy. 

Is it Worth it to Buy Solar Panels in Hawaii?

Yes, it is worth it to buy solar panels in Hawaii. Installing solar panels in Paradise state is worth it primarily because of the high energy rates and many sunny days that the islands offer. You can also save money and go green, reducing your carbon emissions and helping fight climate change. 

Hawaii residents pay for the most expensive energy in the US. An average Hawaii resident has to pay $0.3236 per kilowatt of electricity. This is also the third most expensive electricity in the world, comparable to Belgium. You can compare these rates to Texas Electricity rates to get a better idea of electricity costs in Hawaii. 

Installing solar panels can help you save a lot of money in the long run and the payback period is very short – between 4.5 and 5.5 years on average. A part of this is thanks to a high number of sunny days. Paradise state has 270 sunny days a year so that your solar panel cost will be negligible compared to the savings you can make. 

Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems

The average cost of solar energy systems in Hawaii is much lower than in the USA, primarily thanks to significant rebates offered. Furthermore, solar systems have seen a sharp price decline and are set to get even cheaper. This has made many US households go for solar, and local solar companies boomed, driving the princess further down. 

An average 5-6 kW solar system will easily get a lot of solar incentives and offset more than 90% of your energy bill, and many solar power solutions, such as solar PPA (Solar Power Purchase Agreement) or solar lease, make it easier than ever to go solar. 

Pros & Cons of Solar Panels in Hawaii

Discussing the pros and cons of solar panels is a useful way to understand solar panel technology and energy production. Hawaii’s solar panel system is a long-term investment that has its good and bad sides. Consider the following when deciding on solar panel purchase. 

Pros of Solar Panels Hawaii 

  1. Significant savings on the electric bill, especially considering the high energy rates that Hawaii residents have to pay – the third highest in the world and the highest in the USA. Solar panels can help you offset more than 90% of that cost for a 5 kW system. 
  2. Less carbon emissions, which aids in protecting the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change. 
  3. Ability to go off-grid with storage, which the Federal and State government also subsidizes. 
  4. Energy Independence and the ability to part with your electricity provider. Depending on how many panels you have, your energy usage, and the energy storage, you can also go completely off-grid. 

Cons of Solar Panels

  1. Solar panel cost, although subsidized, is still a high upfront cost. Many households say that they cannot afford this price. Solar lease or solar PPA may be the solution for you in this case. 
  2. Pollution, although significantly reduced, is still present during the production and shipping of any solar panel system. 
  3. Periodical energy production, since your solar array, works only when there is direct sunlight. Some energy is produced even during cloudy days, although this is negligible compared to a bright, sunny day. 
  4. Space is sparse for many, as solar panels can take up a large surface of your rooftop. Space as a problem for solar panel installation is especially prominent in multi-story residential buildings. 

Hawaii Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

Hawaiians can expect to pay around $2.67 per Watt of DC installed. This price is still high for many households, so both the Federal and state governments heavily subsidize solar panels and other solar projects. Hawaii is one of the rare states where the tax credits are applicable on federal and state taxes. Read on to learn more about Hawaii solar incentives, rebates, and tax credits. 

Federal Tax Credit

Federal Tax Credit (the Federal ITC) applies to any solar system, regardless of the size and configuration. If you decide to install a large solar panel system with energy storage and a powerful inverter, this tax credit will knock off as much as 26% of your entire purchase. You will get the money back in the form of federal tax credits, so if you install a solar system anywhere in the USA, you will pay less in Federal Taxes. 

Hawaii 35% Solar Tax Credit

Hawaii solar panels are eligible for another tax credit. The 35% state tax credit applies to any project that improves the energy profile of your home. Unlike the unlimited federal tax credit, the cap on the state tax credit is currently set at $2,250 per project. Hawaii state tax credit can be combined with the federal tax credit. 

Real Property Tax Exemption for Alternative Energy Improvements

Real Property Tax Exemption for alternative energy improvements also covers the costs of installing solar systems. Under this tax exemption, you do not pay for the increase in the property value of your home that is a result of your new solar installation. 

Once you install your solar panels, you can expect that the average cost of electricity you pay will go down. This, in turn, increases the value of your home so that you can sell it for more. To incentivize residents to install panels, the state of Hawaii has made this exemption. 

DescriptionEquivalent Cost
The Cost of PV - 10kWh at an average of $2.67 per Watt of Solar Installed$26,700
The Federal Solar Tax Credit @26% by the end of 2022$6,942
Hawaii 35% Solar Tax Credit @$2,250 max$2,250
Annual Energy Price Savings @100% of 515 kWh per month $1999.84
TOTAL cost for a 10kWh home solar system at the end of year 1$15,508.16
Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all Hawaii solar incentives are taken 7.75 years

GEMS Loan Program

The GEMS Loan Program is available for HECO customers. Under this loan, you do not make a downpayment, and you pay off the cost of your solar panels only through the regular payments towards HECO itself. This pay-through savings loan program is an amazing opportunity to enjoy solar energy while at the same time saving enough money to pay off the solar array. 

When deciding on the GEMS loan program for your solar energy system, you will have to install solar panels that can produce at least enough energy for you to cover 10% of your energy use. The solar panels will reduce your electric bill and bring down the average cost of solar panels to be affordable to a larger number of households. You can ask around about this program with your HECO, solar company, or solar installer working in your area. This is as close as it gets to free solar panels. 

Honolulu Low-interest Solar Loans

Solar panels work extra hard in Honolulu, in part thanks to Honolulu’s low-interest solar loans. With this solar loan, you pay 0% interest for a period of 10 or 20 years. Solar companies and banks work together to satisfy your energy needs in a green way, without harming your pocket. The loan is available for up to $60,000. 

Net-Metering is not Available in Hawaii 

Unfortunately, no net metering program is available in Hawaii. Although previously the program has been set up just as in other US states, it was repelled in 2015. You can still enjoy energy coming from clean energy sources, but now, you will have to pay by yourself for an energy storage option. 

Top Solar Companies in Hawaii

The federal solar tax credit, low energy costs, and low solar price per watt all made many Hawaii residents go for solar in this state. However, choosing the best solar company for the Hawaii solar panel system can be a headache since over 80 solar installers in the state. To make your job of finding the best solar company easy, here are the top solar companies in Hawaii: 

  1. Pacific Energy, LLC, Kihei, 
  2. Sunrun, Kailua-Kona, 
  3. Island Pacific Energy, Honolulu, 
  4. HI POWER Solar, Pearl City, 
  5. Independent Energy Systems, Mililani, 
  6. Rising Sun Solar – Kauai, Lihue, 
  7. 21st Century Technologies, Honolulu, 
  8. Bonterra Solar, Honolulu, 
  9. Dakmi Solar, Kaneohe, and 
  10. Eco Resources, LLC, Pukalani. 

FAQs

Is the solar rebate ending?

Solar rebates are about to go down in the upcoming years. As solar technology gets cheaper, it becomes more affordable for homeowners, and the rebates lose their sense. However, you can still expect to get the 26% federal solar rebate, regardless of how much money you’ve spent on your solar array system. 

What is the best way to finance solar?

The best way to finance solar is to pay upfront or take a solar loan. Only by these two ways will you be able to get the federal solar rebate and reduce the per watt price of your solar system by up to 26%. Alternatively, if you live in Hawaii, you can apply for the GEMS Loan Program if you make less than 140% of the average income for the state and finance your solar through electric bill savings. 

How many solar batteries are needed to power a house?

An average Hawaii residence uses 515 kWh of power per month, so you will need a pack of 2 X 10 kWh batteries to make sure juice never runs out. Per Watt price of solar energy storage is not low, but Federal Tax credits for solar investments can bring this price down by a quarter. 

How much is a water bill in Hawaii?

An average water bill in Hawaii is $70.00. Although a solar system cannot compensate for the water bill, it can decrease the cost of heating water for residential use. You can either implement a solar installation and use electric energy to heat water or install solar collectors to heat water for you. 

Conclusion

The paradise state can boast many sunny days, affordable solar array prices, and generous federal and state rebates and solar subsidies. Ensure you utilize all of them to ensure a low cost of your solar installation and enjoy all the benefits solar can get you. You can enjoy a significantly lower energy bill since Hawaii’s energy price is above the national average, has cleaner air, and has a more financially and energetically stable future. Make this long-term investment and watch your pockets say ‘Thank you over and over again. 

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