One of the best states in the union for solar energy conversion is Hawaii. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Aloha State is served by more than 50 installation businesses given the popularity of solar power (SEIA). 1 This implies that you’ll have a wide selection of businesses to choose from for your system installation.
Although more options is fantastic, it could make your choice more challenging. It takes a lot of time and effort to thoroughly study installers to see what each one has to offer in order to select the best business for your requirements.
The top solar firms in Hawaii are listed here, with recommendations made especially for state residents.
Best solar installers in Hawaii: How to Save Money When Hiring a Solar Installer
Property owners in Hawaii have access to some of the nation’s most affordable solar panel installations. Despite Hawaii’s average cost per watt of solar energy being $2.67, which is comparable to the U.S. average, homeowners typically only use 5.5 kilowatts of power (kW). That brings the typical system cost before credits to $14,685, or more accurately to $10,280 after accounting for the federal tax credit.
Despite the fact that this sum is far lower than the national average of $23,940, or $16,758 after the tax credit, Hawaii residents can still hunt for installation discounts. The actions you can take to reduce installation expenses are listed below.
- Take advantage of the numerous benefit opportunities Hawaii has to offer.
- Think about putting in solar batteries.
- Select high-efficiency solar panels.
- Utilize Hawaii’s benefit programs
- Utilizing the incentive packages offered is the greatest way to lower your conversion to solar in Hawaii’s upfront and ongoing costs. These include rebate programs, tax credits, and tax exemptions that reduce the actual cost of solar equipment.
The solar incentives that are available to Hawaii homeowners are included in the table below, along with information on how each can help you save money.
Think about putting in solar batteries.
Installing solar batteries can be extremely advantageous for Hawaii residents.
Batteries can serve as an alternative to net metering, and many Hawaii residents can benefit from the battery rebate program to reduce costs. With net energy metering (NEM), you can utilize your solar panels to create more energy than you need and use the credits you earn to reduce future electric bills. This billing practice is required by many jurisdictions.
Sadly, since NEM is no longer required in Hawaii, few utility companies provide it. However, you may save your extra energy for later use if you install a solar battery. This is particularly helpful in Hawaii, where energy costs are the highest in the nation and nearly quadruple the national average. 7
In case that’s not enough to persuade you, Hawaii regularly has power outages because of the strain placed on the deteriorating electric grid. Even during blackouts, solar batteries can help you keep your electricity running.
A High-Efficiency Panel Brand should be installed
For home solar systems, a wide range of panel brands are accessible. The efficiency rating, which indicates how much of the sunlight striking the panel will be transformed into electricity, is one of the key differences between these products.
In Hawaii, installing high-efficiency solar panel brands like SunPower’s Maxeon panels is typically the most economical option. This is due to two factors:
The smallest dwellings in the nation are found in Hawaii, therefore roof space is naturally constrained. With high-efficiency panels, you can produce more energy from the same amount of floor space. Even while they might cost more up front, they typically pay for themselves over time.
Hawaii inhabitants have the highest energy costs in the US and spend more for energy than residents of any other state, with a cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of over 33 cents.
7 High efficiency solar panels reduce utility costs, maximizing your long-term savings and hastening the payback of your system.
Will Solar in Hawaii Raise the Value of Your Home?
Yes! Installing PV panels is a terrific method to increase the value of your home because, according to estimates from Zillow, a standard solar system will increase the value of your home by 4.1%. 8 That’s an increase of $33,000 given the $825,000 national average for property values. 5
According to some sources, home values in Hawaii have increased by over 20% over the last few years, which indicates that the value-enhancing effects of solar are also increasing.
The return on investment (ROI) for solar has grown at the fastest pace in bigger cities like Oahu and Honolulu, but other locations have benefited as well.
Here are a few of Hawaii’s priciest cities that also happen to have the highest ROI in terms of increased property value:
Honolulu, Wailea, Haiku-Pauwela, Kailua, Kula, Laie, Mililani, and Pearl City
Should Hawaii residents go with a pro or do it themselves for solar installation?
If you’ve looked into DIY solar panel installation, you’ve definitely noticed that it’s relatively inexpensive when compared to hiring a pro. However, Hawaii’s DIY solar installations aren’t as tempting as they might seem.
Here are a few explanations as to why hiring a contractor is preferable than completing your own solar installation.
Panels that have been placed by a pro are more effective.
Given the high local energy prices, it is imperative that you size your system properly.
Roof leaks, which are more frequent with do-it-yourself installations, are a problem in some parts of Hawaii.
Hawaii Suits Professional Panels Better
High-efficiency solar panels are ideal for use in Hawaii, as was previously indicated. This is due to the fact that the average roof size in the Aloha State is less than in any other state, which can restrict the amount of area for PV panels.
Making the most of the roof space you do have is crucial for maximizing long-term solar savings, given that Hawaii residents also have the highest energy expenditures in the nation. In comparison to professionally installed options like Maxeon, Panasonic, and Tesla, DIY panel brands nearly always have lesser efficiency, which might raise the cost.
While doing your own solar installation will typically result in upfront savings, you may experience fewer savings over time owing to decreased efficiency.
It Can Be Expensive to Choose the Wrong System Size
Given how expensive electricity is in Hawaii, it’s critical that the PV system on your house is designed properly for your energy requirements. The wrong size can result in lower energy savings, longer panel payback times, and other serious drawbacks.
A professional installation will cost more than a DIY solar installation, but the technician will take a number of things into account to determine the proper system size. These consist of:
The orientation of your roof
Wherever you live in Hawaii, be aware that the windward sides of the mountains frequently get dense cloud cover.
Your roof’s dimensions and the maximum number of panels it can support
Your typical monthly energy use and more
If you install panels yourself, you’re much more likely to acquire a system size that isn’t appropriate for your home, which could result in shorter-term savings.
DIY Solar Projects Are More Likely to Experience Roof Leaks
Hawaii has certain regions where rainfall is significantly higher than the national average10. Leaking at the locations where roof penetrations occur during panel installation is one of the most frequent problems solar consumers have.
While expert installers can frequently install panels in a method that reduces this risk, if you install the panels yourself, you’re more likely to make a crucial error. Any mistake could result in major water damage and leaks, particularly during Hawaii’s rainy seasons. In the end, the money you saved by performing a DIY installation may be outweighed by the repair expenses.
Additionally, competent businesses frequently offer workmanship guarantees to cover problems that result from poor installation. If you complete the task yourself, you won’t receive this.
What Qualities Should a Solar Installer Have in Hawaii?
There are a few qualities that a Hawaii solar installation business should have that will help you have a good experience and save as much money as you can. The most crucial elements are listed below, along with an explanation of each one’s significance.
- dependable panel brands
- provided solar services
- Efficiency of the Panel Brands Offered Years in Business
- First, we advise limiting your search for solar installers by the brands of panels they sell. The nation’s highest electricity and energy costs are incurred by citizens of Hawaii. Many locals must ensure that the square footage of their roofs is utilized to its full potential because they have the smallest average dwelling sizes in the country.
Most frequently, this entails mounting high-efficiency panel manufacturers. While they might be more expensive, these have a higher energy output per square foot and can result in longer-term cost savings. You should have no trouble with Maxeon, Panasonic, Tesla, Q-Cells, REC, Silfab, Canadian Solar, or Trina Solar brands.
As previously noted, we frequently advise Hawaii residents to install solar batteries. Any extra energy your system produces will simply be sent to your utility company with no benefit to you because there is no statewide net energy metering policy. Plus, when your panels aren’t producing energy, as at night or on particularly gloomy days, you’ll still be required to pay expensive electricity prices to draw power from the grid.
Utilizing excess production is made possible by installing a battery, which increases the likelihood that your monthly utility costs will be zero.
Therefore, we advise selecting an installation who is capable of handling panels and batteries. The majority of businesses in Hawaii do, however others just offer access to PV panels.
Experience in Years
Finally, we advise choosing a business with at least five years’ worth of experience. Over the past few years, solar has become more and more popular in Hawaii, and as a result, more businesses are springing up to meet the need.
Sadly, younger businesses can have a higher chance of failing and nullifying your warranties in the process. They also frequently employ workers with less expertise, which can occasionally cause problems during installation.
How We Rated Hawaii’s Solar Installers: Our Methodology
We first evaluated local, regional, and national businesses that are based in or operate in Hawaii in order to rank the top solar providers in your area. We examined the panel brands supplied, the services offered, the overall cost, the number of years of experience, and more. Then, we assigned a weight to each of these criteria depending on their importance in Hawaii.
- solar energy (20%)
- Reputation, credentials, and certifications (20%)
- Customer Support & Solar Warranty (15%)
- Options for Solar Financing (15%)
- Knowledge (10%)
- (10) Availability
- Factors affecting social, environmental, and corporate governance (10%)
- The elements that, in our opinion, are most essential for Hawaii residents to enjoy a positive solar experience are described below.
We aim to provide fair studies and honest evaluations; as a result, our technique is created particularly for Hawaii residences and unaffected by business alliances.
Years of Experience in the Area
First, we took a look at how old each Hawaii solar supplier was and eliminated the majority of the younger businesses. Hawaii’s use of solar energy has only lately begun to pick up steam; from 32nd in the nation in 2021 to 18th in 2022. Numerous businesses opened their doors to capitalize on the rise in demand.
Young solar businesses can be just as good as more seasoned ones, but watch out for those that are only in it for the money. These installers are more likely to void your warranty if they go out of business and are less likely to offer outstanding customer service.
Additionally, organizations with extensive expertise are more likely to be conversant with the local benefit programs accessible, particularly those provided by certain utility companies. Over time, having an installer with that understanding can help you save money.
Brands of Equipment and Services Provided
The range of services provided and the manufacturers of equipment were then assessed. Companies like Maxeon that offer panels with the highest efficiency ratings in the market are given priority. Next, we prioritize high-efficiency choices. In Hawaii, where roof space is at a premium and lowering high energy costs is essential for optimizing savings, these are the greatest options.
The services that each business provides should also be taken into account. In Hawaii, batteries and panels are both viable options, so we give preference to businesses that provide both. Additionally, we have a propensity to prioritize businesses who offer additional energy efficiency solutions. By doing this, you can make sure the business you choose isn’t just interested in making a profit; it’s also interested in helping the environment.
Warranty coverage is still another important consideration. 25-year coverage for equipment, workmanship, and efficiency is not unusual in other states. However, the average length of workmanship warranties in Hawaii is roughly 10 years, which is less desirable.
When possible, we highlight businesses who offer superior warranty coverage. As your system matures, the additional insurance can help you save money on necessary repairs, upkeep, or replacements in addition to giving you peace of mind.