Hawaii Solar Companies

Cut energy costs and improve the environment; these are two reasons homeowners might choose to utilize the strong Hawaiian sun to power their homes. On Oahu and other Hawaiian Islands, the sun shines nearly every day of the year, making solar energy a viable energy option with an array of Hawaii solar companies to choose from. 

Why should I consider solar panels in Hawaii?

There are many reasons homeowners may consider installing solar panels or a solar water heater:

  • Reduce your electric bill. The sun is free energy that goes into powering your home directly or into a grid. On Oahu, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is the main electrical utility company – with many homes powered by solar panels at reduced electric rates.
  • Protect against rising energy costs. What is the electricity rate in Hawaii? The cost of electricity on Oahu ranges from $0.49 kilowatt-hour (kWh) to $0.62 KWH, depending on the time of day. And this rate increases regularly. If you have solar panels that are producing electricity, you do not have to pay this rate, and you also hedge against the rising electric utility rate, as the sun’s energy has minimal, if any, billed costs.
  • Increase your property value. Studies have shown that homes with solar panels have higher property values than homes that do not. Also, solar panels are an attractive asset to a potential buyer, making your home even more desirable.
  • Commit to sustainability and protect the environment. Solar energy does not produce any dirty carbon emissions into the air like other energy sources. In fact, through the use of a residential solar panel system on one home, this will reduce tons of carbon emissions each year – the equivalent of planting at least 100 trees.

How much do solar panels cost?

In addition to bettering the value of your home and preserving the environment, solar panels often make sense economically in Hawaii. Solar companies will install solar panels on your home – either through an upfront cost, lease, or payment plan.

Based on a review of a number of local solar companies, as of August 2020, the average cost for solar panels and their installation is $3.38 per watt in the entire state of Hawaii, meaning the typical 6000 watt (6 kW) solar system would be $20,280. 

In Honolulu City and County, or the island of Oahu, the average cost per watt for a solar panel system is $3.72, so the average cost would be $22,320 for a 6kW system. On Oahu, solar companies average 7.54 kW solar panel systems for installation, meaning the average solar panel system costs $28,048.80.

Hawaii has a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2045. Therefore, there has been both Hawaii state and federal tax credits for buying solar energy panels over the past years that might reduce the cost. Here are current tax credits available:

  • Hawaii Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit. This can cover up to $5,000 of your solar installation, depending on the overall cost. Solar panel customers can receive the amount as a tax credit or refund.
  • City and County of Honolulu – Real Property Tax Exemption for Alternative Energy Improvements. On Oahu, you can apply for a tax exemption for 25 years from the property taxes associated with your new solar panels, meaning you will not have to pay the extra cost of the increase in your property value due to the solar panels. 
  • Federal Solar Tax Credit. If you buy your solar system outright, you could claim a dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit equal to 26% of the final cost of the solar energy system for 2020 tax returns. This means if you purchase a system for $20,000, you will pay $14,800 after the federal tax credit. In 2021, the federal solar energy tax credit will be 22% of the total purchase price, and this tax credit incentive for solar panels and water heaters is set to expire in 2021.

And how much will solar panels save me on my electric bill?

If you are paying the average kilowatt-hour on Oahu of $0.50 and use the average amount of electricity at 515 kilowatts per month, your average electric bill would total around $257.50. This is a low average.

Based on estimates, a 6-kW system could save a Hawaii resident more than $300 per month – each and every month of the year. This means, on average, a solar panel system would generate more energy than needed by the average resident, with payoffs of the system in only a matter of years. 

Hawaii has 8% more sun than other states in the U.S., and the price of electricity is higher. Therefore, a solar panel system is about 200% more cost effective in Hawaii than in the rest of the United States. A solar panel system is a wise choice in Hawaii.

How much do solar water heaters cost and save me in electricity?

The cost of a solar water heater in Hawaii averages between $6,300 to $7,500 depending on the tank size. However, this is not the actual cost as there are Hawaii state and federal tax credits as well as instant rebates through some solar water companies in Hawaii. 

In 2020, you can receive a 26% federal tax credit on the price of the solar water heater and installation and a 35% Hawaii state tax credit on the price of the solar water heater and installation. Therefore, if you purchased a solar water heater system for $7,000, you would have a federal tax credit of $1,820 and a Hawaii state tax credit of $2,450, meaning the cost of a solar water heater after tax credits in Hawaii would be $2730, making them a great choice.

It is estimated that a solar water heater can save you up to 40% on your electric bill, as heating water is one of the most expensive costs of electricity apart from a full air conditioning system.

Who are the best Oahu solar companies?

The solar industry is booming locally and across the United States, with growth expected to continue. So when you invest in solar panels for your home, you also are supporting the local economy. Here are three top solar companies on Oahu:

  • Sunrun is a residential-only solar company in Hawaii and states in the U.S. They guarantee their equipment for a lifetime and have affordable plans available. They have offices in Waipahu and in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

  • SolarCity is currently the largest solar company in the United States, offering $0 plans, price lock options, and free solar panels to schools through their foundation. They have an office in Mililani and partner with Tesla.

  • Vivint.solar is another large national and Hawaii solar power company, and they are known for $0 plans and quick installation. They have an office in Aiea.

With the sun shining nearly every day of the year in Hawaii, solar panels and solar water heaters are a great choice to save money on electricity bills, to increase home equity, and to contribute to a clean environment and sustainable future.