What is Hawaii's solar Self-Supply Program?
For homeowners in Hawaii who decide to go solar under the "self-supply" program are not allowed to send solar energy back into the utility grid. The power produced by the solar system must either be utilized in the home or stored in a home battery system to be utilized when needed later.
It does not matter if you are on Oahu, Big Island, or Maui, solar can make a tremendous amount of financial sense for you under the Self-Supply Program.
History of Hawaii Solar Programs
On September 14, 2016, Hawaiian Electric (HECO) made a change to how residents of Hawaii would be able to install solar panel systems at their homes. The previous program, Customer Grid Supply (CGS), had eclipsed the cap of 25 megawatts on Oahu. The end of the CGS came after Hawaii's Net Energy Metering policy had reached its cap.
These two programs had helped make Hawaii become a leader nationally in the residential solar space. During their time, tens of thousands of homeowners all over Hawaii switched from utility power to residential solar.
What does the change mean for homeowners' investment?
When the programs' shift was first announced, many were concerned that the "Self-supply" program would harm solar adoption. The past few years have proven that under the "self-supply" program, homeowners can still save tens of thousands of dollars during the life of the solar and battery system.
Because of the 26%, Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), and the 35% Hawaii's Energy Tax Credit, a large portion of the installation cost can be offset by the homeowners. When factoring the average yearly increase in utility rates, under Hawaiin Electrics, Self Supply program, solar systems can still have an incredible return on investment value if the solar panel system is sized correctly.
How do the homeowner's electrical usage impact savings under Self Supply?
No matter the program, the savings that a homeowner sees from solar depend on how they utilize electricity. This is especially true under the Self Supply program. Because the electricity produced by the solar system has to be used in the home or stored in a battery, it is beneficial to shift as much of the electrical load to during the day.
With a few small changes to electrical usage patterns, like using A/C, pool pumps, dishwashers, laundry, and dryers early in the day, a customer under the Self Supply can dramatically improve the savings they see by going solar.
Do Self-Supply customers need solar batteries for their home?
Batteries are not a mandatory part of a Self-Supply Solar system, but we usually recommend them.
The addition of a battery to the solar system can dramatically improve the economics of a home solar panel system, as it allows a homeowner to store excess electricity to be used at a later time instead of purchasing expensive electricity from the utility.
Because of our partnership with Sunrun, homeowners on Oahu can enter the Kukui Hele Pō program. The Kukui Hele Pō program gives customers a $250 gift card, additional HECO savings, and other benefits!
Under Self Supply, can I utilize solar energy storage for emergency backup power?
Absolutely! For homeowners in Hawaii, the peace of mind that comes with battery backup is one of the best features of adding energy storage to a solar system. The utility grid in Hawaii is one of the oldest in the countries, and storm season does cause power outages from time to time. With the "self-supply" program and energy storage, blackouts can be a thing of the past.
If you are interested in learning more about how beneficial home energy storage is for Hawaii homeowners, schedule a free consultation with Alchemy Solar.