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Hawaii Sets Goal of 100% Renewable Energy by 2045


Paradise is about to get a whole lot more… paradise-y.

Hawaii Governor David V. Ige just signed some exciting new pieces of legislation that will ensure Hawaii gets a top spot in next year’s SPR Solar Power Rankings report. The most important of these laws, HB623 sets Hawaii up to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2045, up from the state’s earlier goal of 40% by 2030.

A second law, SB1050, establishes a community-based renewable energy program that will allow Hawaiians to purchase energy generated by someone else. That means people who don’t own their own home can take full advantage of the major savings of solar power in Hawaii, either by “purchasing a panel” or two in a large solar farm, or by banding together with their neighbors and building a community solar garden.

This is huge news. And Hawaii’s citizens need it, too. The state imports super-expensive petroleum products to supply over half of its current energy needs, which is the main reason Hawaii electric prices are nearly three times the national average. Luckily, the sun never raises rates, and you don’t have to pay some rich sheikh for barrels of it.

The high cost of electricity means that solar panels in Hawaii pay for themselves in just 6 years, saving homeowners a whopping $85,000 in electric bills over the life of the system. That’s why we’re seeing this commitment from the highest levels of government in Hawaii. Getting electricity costs down for everyone and becoming completely self-reliant is what this shift to renewables is all about.

Here’s a little bit more about the current financial picture for solar in the Aloha state:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system in Hawaii will cost about $25,000.
  • Hawaii offers a state solar tax credit of 35% of costs, up to $5,000. That $5,000 back at tax time means the total first-year price goes down to $20,000.
  • But wait, the federal government also offers a solar tax credit. This one is 30% of costs, with no cap, meaning another $7,500 back, if you owe that much in taxes (You can take this credit over 2 years, if necessary). That system is costing you only $12,500 after these tax breaks.
  • Next comes electricity savings, which will be about $2,519 in the first year. $210 PER MONTH. Once we subtract that, you are left with a final cost after year 1 of just $9,981. You’ve already saved 60% of the system costs, right off the bat!
  • The planet will be thanking you, since those solar panels on your roof are the greenhouse-gas fighting equivalent of planting 134 trees in your backyard. (Nice work!)
  • Getting back to your wallet though, solar panels in Hawaii should, on average, pay for themselves in just 6 years. 6 years! After that it’s all profit baby. A cool $85,000 of it over the life of your system.

Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on solar panels, you can some money on electricity with a solar lease. That high cost of electricity means a lease can still save you about $100 per month compared to your electric bill. By taking the solar lease path, you’ll save a total of over $52,000 in 25 years. Wow.

Keep in mind every home is unique, and your savings might be larger or smaller based on that uniqueness. If you’d like some detailed information from a solar expert in Hawaii, or in your home state, wherever you live, sign up for personalized assistance from our nationwide network of expert solar installers.

Last modified: March 4, 2019

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