What solar panels should a homeowner install in Hawaii?
When looking into solar energy, the number of components in a solar panel system can be a little overwhelming. At Alchemy Solar, we focus on only supplying the highest quality products (Tier 1 as they are known in the solar industry) but want to make sure that customers understand the variables that impact a solar panel's production.
Every customer has different needs, and they need to understand that some solar panels come with higher efficiencies and more extended warranties. Like all premium products, these panels do come with a higher cost, but if a homeowner has limited roof space or will be financing the system for a more extended period, it may be worth the additional cost.
For other homeowners looking for the best return on investment or are signing up for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and are comfortable with the warranty and production guarantee provided by the PPA, a standard Tier 1 panel might be sufficient.
Hawaii's location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean does mean that things like wind uplift and saltwater corrosion can impact a solar system. This is especially true on the Windward and Leeward sides of the islands. At Alchemy Solar, we design all of our systems with panels capable of handling the unique characteristics of Island Life.
What is the best way to get a solar system in Hawaii?
Every homeowner has different needs, and our goal at Alchemy is always to deliver on these needs. Hawaii has long been at the forefront of residential solar, and as a result of the popularity of solar on the islands and the outdated utility grids, residential solar energy has specific requirements on the islands. While a cash purchase on paper provides the best ROI for a homeowner, Alchemy has partnered with the solar industry's best Power Purchase Provider, SunRun, to offer an alternative option that many homeowners find very appealing.
SunRun allows homeowners to purchase power produced (frequently with no money out of pocket to start) by the solar system on their roof without the cost, maintenance, or monitoring that comes with owning a solar system. SunRun also provides homeowners with access to energy storage and battery management to help reduce electricity payments to HECO, while providing battery backup in the event of a power outage. SunRun also has exclusive access to the Kukui Hele Pō grid service agreement with HECO. This means that in exchange for allowing HECO temporary access to a home's battery when the grid needs support, homeowners receive a $200 gift card and additional HECO credits.
How much electricity can a residential solar system produce in Hawaii?
The components of a solar energy system are one of the main factors that determine how much energy a solar system can produce, but the other factor, that in many ways, is just as important is how much sun exposure the system gets. Hawaii is amongst the nation's leaders in most sun exposure. This factor is significant because when compared with a solar panel system that is the same size located elsewhere in the country, the system in Hawaii will most likely produce the most electricity. This factor means a homeowner gets more power for the system and should help improve its ROI.
Other factors do impact the production of a solar panel system. Things like roof orientation, angel and shading do play a part. Homeowners in Hawaii need to understand how their home's specifics will impact the system production before making a final decision.
Do solar-battery-storage systems make sense in Hawaii?
Hawaii's leadership in the renewable energy space isn't just limited to residential solar. Hawaii has also led the charge on the installation of residential battery energy storage systems. Hawaiin homeowners in 2020 who go solar are adding energy storage as well. Batteries help to provide homeowners with energy independence by storing the power a residential solar system sends into the battery during the day to be pulled from at night or cloudy.
The grid in Hawaii is also one of the oldest in the nation, and as a result, power outages are a frequent problem. In the post COVID world, where working from home is becoming more common, the ability to keep your home powered, safe, and working during a power outage has never been more critical.
Batteries also make sense because Hawaii no longer has a standard Net Energy Metering Program. As a result, homeowners must choose between Customer Self Supply or Smart Export (SE). Under the Self Supply options, homeowners are not allowed to export any electricity back into the grid. Smart Export program is similar to a Time of Use program in that it provides different amounts of value for kilowatts sent into the grid at different times. Hawaii's solar programs work best when energy storage is included, saving homeowners additional money while transitioning to solar energy.
How long will a solar project take in Hawaii?
Hawaii is a unique place for solar projects, and each island comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. The goal for all projects is to get the solar panels installed as quickly as possible and ensure that homeowners can start saving money. On average, projects without any delay or required additional work, take around sixty days from contract signing to installation
How long does a solar installation take in Hawaii?
An average solar only installation will take around two days. Some smaller systems can be installed in one day, and larger ones can take a week or longer. Because of the added parts and labor required to install a battery system, the addition of energy storage may add a day or two to an average installation.
Does Hawaii have rebates and incentives for solar?
Every homeowner in the nation has access to the best solar incentive,
the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC allows homeowners who purchase a solar system to deduct 26 percent of the system cost from their federal taxes. The ITC dramatically improves the economics of the residential solar system and will be 26 percent until 2021, at which point it will step down to 22 percent until 2022, where it will go away entirely for residential solar!
In an attempt to help incentives more significant expansion of renewable energy, Hawaii also provides a Hawaii Energy Tax Credit. The Hawaii Energy Tax Credit allows homeowners to claim an income tax credit of 35% of the equipment and installation cost. The tax credit is capped at $5000 but can be carried forward if the credit exceeds as homeowner's tax liability for that year.
Homeowners in Hawaii also receive a Property Tax Exemption. For twenty-five years, a homeowner is exempt from the portray taxes associated with a solar panel system. This is a unique benefit and can be extremely beneficial because solar panels are known to increase the value of a home.
While Hawaiian residents do not have access to Net Energy Metering (NEM) programs via their utilities, they do have access to Customer Self Supply or Smart Export (SE). Although the programs are different, they are designed to help save homeowners money on their utility bills.
Hawaii also has additional incentive programs that are based on income eligibility.
If you are a Hawaiian homeowner interested in learning more about residential solar,
schedule a free consultation with Alchemy Solar today.