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Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in Hawaii

Hawaii is known all over the world as a tropical paradise. Locals make their homes among its rain forests, beaches, and vibrant cities, while tourists flock to the state's diverse islands for relaxing atmosphere, brightly-colored flowers, and warm weather. With its rare and delicate ecosystem, abundant sunshine, and high electricity prices, Hawaii is an ideal location for solar power.
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ecause of the state's high electricity prices, solar power in Hawaii is more financially beneficial than in any other state. Hawaii also has a strong Renewables Portfolio Standard - 40% of all energy must come from renewable sources by 2030. Although there are a few obstacles to Hawaii's development of solar energy, including some resistance from Hawaiian utility companies, Hawaii is working hard to create a sustainable future for solar power. In this article, you will find more information to help you decide whether or no solar is right for you.

Grid Connected Solar Power Systems in Hawaii (2012)

  • Residential Solar Power Systems: 70.3 Megawatt
  • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 37 Megawatt
  • Utility: 6.9 Megawatt
  • Total: 114.3 Megawatt
  • Cumulative: 199.5 Megawatt

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2013 Hawaii was one of the leading states in the country for growth in the solar energy industry. In 2012, Hawaii and California were the two largest residential markets for solar power, with 57% of all residential solar installations in these two states. In 2013, Hawaii ranked 7th for cumulative solar electric capacity.

Cost of Electricity in Hawaii

  • Electricity Price: $0.33 per kWh
  • Average Electricity Bill: $190.00
  • Average Bill after Solar: $50

Because Hawaii is an island situated far from the mainland of the United States, electricity in this state is the most expensive in the country at $0.33 per kWh, double the cost of electricity in most states. Consequently, financial savings are on of the biggest solar incentives in Hawaii. Homeowners who install a solar energy system can cut their electricity bill by nearly three quarters, and, with an average leased solar payment of $50, monthly savings are around $90.

Solar Radiation

Depending on the particular island, average solar radiation in Hawaii is between 3 and 5 kilowatt. The amounts represent an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square foot). With a yearly average of 271 sunny or partly sunny days on Oahu, 276 in Maui, and 240 in Kauai, Hawaii is an excellent location for solar power.

State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

  • State Solar Tax Credit: 35% Maximum varies
  • State Solar Rebate: None
  • Property Tax Exemption: 100% exempt (O'ahu only)
  • Sales Tax Exemption: None

In addition, the Federal Solar Tax Credit also applies!

Solar incentives and rebates in Hawaii are less well-developed than in other states, though many solar power advocates are working to promote these programs. The island of O'ahu is currently one of the most progressive regions in the state regarding solar incentives, featuring a property tax exemption for solar energy.

Solar Installers in Hawaii

With over 100 solar power companies currently at work throughout the islands, Hawaii is home to a growing market of solar installers. Most recently, Grove Farm on Kauai, in partnership with SolarCity, is expected to open for business in 2014 with 12 MW of solar energy that will generate enough electricity to power 2,400 homes - an exciting contribution to Hawaii's solar energy industry.

Solar installers in Hawaii are licensed through Hawaii's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Summary: Good Conditions for Solar Power Systems

Though Hawaii still has some work to do to establish state sales tax exemptions and solar rebates, solar energy systems can drastically relieve homeowners from the burden of extremely high energy prices. The state's solar industry has a promising future ahead of it, making this an exciting time for homeowners on the islands to invest in solar power. To calculate your costs and savings please use our Solar Calculator or contact solar installers in your area.

Solar Energy Fact Sheet: Hawaii, ©

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Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor