Hello indeed! I don’t know if anyone else has been checking out the recent Hawaii updates, but there is some really exciting stuff going on for solar power in the Aloha State. You may have confused all that noise for Hawaiians up in arms about their sky-high electric bills, but don’t be fooled – that commotion is actually opportunity knocking BANGING at your door.
Hawaii pays a nation-leading 36.25 cents per kilowatt-hour (“kwh”) of electricity. That’s twice as much as any other state. I know you hate those electric bills, but that’s only until you’ve seen this:
Yes. You’re reading that correctly. If you install a 5kw solar power system (a good estimate for a single-family home) you save about 55% of the cost in the first year alone; your home value goes up by almost $54,000 (and oh by the way, you are exempt from 100% of property taxes from that rise in value); your electric bill immediately drop by $224/month; you get back all of your initial costs by the 4th year; and over the 25-year warranty period of your solar panels, you turn a profit of more than $116,000. Holy return on investment Batman!
I’ve been writing about renewable energy for a while now, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this. $116,000! Have you ever wanted a small vacation home somewhere? Oh right; you live in Hawaii. Maybe you’d like a Mercedes or two then.
There’s more. Yes, more. As if plummeting electric bills, a four-year payback timeframe, and $116,000 in profit isn’t enough. Like I said, Hawaiians currently pay 36.25 cents per kilowatt-hour. Those rates are already stratospheric, but they’re threatening to break orbit entirely. Last year at this time Hawaiians paid 30.13 cents/kwh. Hold on; let me get my calculator … that’s an increase of 20.31% in just one year! But wait; still more! Early in 2010 Hawaii was paying 26.26 cents/kwh.
That’s a 2010-2011 increase of 14.74%. I’m starting to see a pattern, and so is your wallet. If electricity prices continue going up at the rate they’ve been rising for at least two years, you are going to be paying somewhere between 41.7 and 43.5 cents by 2013, and around $0.50/kwh by 2014.
Bottom line? A solar power system in Hawaii may already be one of the world’s smartest investments, and all signs point to the returns getting even better.
Here’s where it really gets interesting. Remember that example with the $116,00 profit? That example assumes electricity prices will rise at the average rate of just 1.5% every year. In other words, $116,000 appears to be a conservative estimate of your profit in Hawaii. If electric rates keep rising the way they have been, your actual profit could be considerably higher. All of that from some solar panels! I knew they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions; I didn’t know they could fund your retirement.
These numbers are estimates. Depending on where you live your actual return could be higher or lower based on the amount of sunlight you receive. I used a conservative sunlight estimate for the island of O’ahu, since that’s where the majority of Hawaiians live. There are, of course, a lot of beautiful islands to account for. Some islands receive even more sunlight than most of O’ahu does, but parts of the Big Island receive less.
Grab one of our free quotes and an expert in your area can assess the particulars of your home and provide you with a much more exact estimate. Trust me on this one. Regardless of where in Hawaii you live a solar system is likely to make you bags (and bags) of cash.
While you’re talking to that local expert, be sure to ask him whether you may have problems connecting to the grid and taking advantage of net metering in your area. There’s a bit more detail about this over on the Hawaii page, but I’ll sum it up for you. When you hook up to the grid with net metering, your utility tracks how much energy you produce and how much you consume. Any surplus is “stored” for you, and applied as a credit to future month’s bills.
I spoke to a solar installer in Hawaii and he told me that if you live in a high population density area, that you may have trouble getting into the net metering program because of Hawaii’s draconian laws on net metering and circuit capacities. Don’t worry! You are still producing gobs of your own electricity and saving all that cash; the $116,000 profit estimate does not include any net metering savings. If you can get into the program, net metering is just the icing on the cake, bringing your electric bill down even lower. Either way, we’re pretty sure you can live with an extra $116,000, right?
To see how the numbers work for you, connect with our Hawaii solar experts!
Last modified: May 9, 2012