Solar on Oahu, HI
Oahu, known as “The Gathering Place,” is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the State of Hawaii. The island has a total land area of 596.7 square miles and is home to about 953,307 people with approximately 75% of the resident population of the state and approximately 75% of those living on the “city” side of the island). Residents of Oahu also pay about $0.25/kWh to the Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) primarily because approximately 90% of the energy provided on Hawaii comes from imported fossil fuels which add unnecessary expense to the Hawaii cost of energy.
Fortunately, the Hawaii government has recognized this and is working to reduce the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and lower residents electric bills with Hawaii solar. To begin, under the Hawaii Global Warming Solutions Act, Hawaii aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and the state has set a goal of meeting 70% of Hawaii’s energy needs through clean energy sources by 2030. Accordingly, residents who install a solar water heat system can receive a one-time, $1,000 rebate from HECO Energy Solutions Program. For residents that want to install a full Hawaii solar power system, Hawaii offers a state tax credit equal to 35% of project costs or $5,000 (whichever is less) for single family residences and a tax credit of 35% of project costs or $3,500 per unit (whichever is less) for multifamily residences. Hawaii also offers a feed-in-tariff which is essentially where your utility company has to pay you cash for the amount of energy your system produces above the amount you consume. HECO is currently paying $0.218/kWh produced from solar panel systems that are less than or equal to 20 kW.
The Honolulu Solar Roofs Loan Program offers low-interest loans (0% or 2% with a maximum loan amount of $75,000) to income-qualified homeowners on Oahu for the installation of solar water heating systems through the City’s Rehabilitation Loan Program. The contract occurs between the City and County of Honolulu, who provides the funding, and the customer with HECO facilitating the installation of the Hawaii solar water heaters. This program is made possible through a partnership between HECO and the city and county of Honolulu.