Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Hawaii; 2012 Update
There have been several changes recently to solar power rebates, tax credits and other incentives that effect residents of Hawaii and its all good news for those who are looking at going solar.
Hawaii's RPS or Renewable Portfolio Standard
Under Hawaii's Renewable Portfolio Standard Act ("RPS"); targets have been set at 40% of electricity production to come from renewable energy by 2030. Interim targets set goals of 15% of its net electricity sales by December 31, 2015 and 25% by Dec 31, 2020 this goes up to a whopping 40% by the end of 2030. This is the reason why rebates and incentives are being offered by utilities companies, and why the government has funded the rebates available, to ensure that these targets are met. To help your understanding we distinguish the rebates and incentives available for solar electricity panels into incentives that reduce the up-front cost and incentives that increase the income and savings from the system over time.
Federal Tax Credit
A very significant financial incentive for your solar power system in Hawaii is the same Federal Tax Credit that applies right across the USA. This gives you a credit on your Federal Tax bill equivalent to 30% of the cost of your solar system For more information on this visit out page "The 30% federal tax credit for residential solar power systems" Because this is a tax credit you get the benefit of this when you do your next federal tax return, rather than getting a cheque on the day of installation. Still, it has a real value if you are in a position where you are paying annual federal income tax equivalent to 30% or more of the value of your solar system.
Hawaii State Rebates
Hawaii has an extraordinary reliance on old tech oil and gas due to its remote location, but the legislature in Hawaii are obviously serious about getting off old fuel and into renewable. The maximum rebate for a residential solar power install is $5,000 or 35% of cost whichever is less. What we have found with nearly all State based rebates is that they change quite often and are generally subject to various rules or conditions. The best way to find out what is applicable to you right now is to fill in the quotes form and get in touch with local installers.
Ongoing Incentives for Solar Power in Hawaii: Payment for your electricity you feed into the grid
In Hawaii you have a choice about how you are paid for electricity that your system feeds back into the grid. You can either choose to take a Feed in Tariff, where you are paid a fixed rate for power that you feed back into the grid for a fixed period, or you can choose Net Metering, in which case you are given a kwh credit for solar electricity that you feed back into the grid. In practical terms it is generally better for folks with smaller systems to choose net metering and for folks with larger systems to choose the FIT. However, this is not always true and you should discuss your options with the solar installers that you choose to get quotes from.
FIT (Feed in Tariff)
This means that you can choose to get paid for every Kw/hour of electricity you produce. The various Utilities have FIT programs in place and potential FIT customers need to contact their own Utility to see what is available to them. Most customers will probably better off in the Net Metering program rather than taking up the FIT option. It is important to talk to your local solar installers to make sure you design the right system for your circumstances.
Feed-in Tariff Rates*
Eligible System Size
|Photovoltaics||Less than or equal to 20 kW||
Net Metering means that your electricity provider will monitor how much power you consume from the grid and how much power you generate and send back to the grid. Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis to residential and "small commercial" customers (including government entities) that generate electricity using solar, wind, biomass or hydro-electric systems. The three Utilities have different programs so its important to see what your Utility has on offer when you are ready to go solar. A customer whose system produces more electricity than the customer consumes during the month may carry forward NEG in the form of a kilowatt-hour (kWh) credit that is applied to the customer's next bill. NEG may be carried over for a maximum of 12 months. At the end of the 12-month period, any remaining customer NEG credits are surrendered to the utility without compensation (unless the customer enters into a purchase agreement with the utility). As always the best way to find out what is applicable to you right now just click "here" and you will be contacted by local installers that know the local state of play.
Hawaii's Solar Incentives and investment case: Summary April 2012
Hawaii is very serious about achieving is RPS and as such have the right overall package of incentives to help meet its solar targets. It is not the best but it is very good. One of the biggest factors in deciding if you should go solar in Hawaii is the price of power, its expensive and its going to get more expensive. It's our opinion that a solar power system for your home in Hawaii is a financial no brainer. Remember, Warren Buffet's compound annual return on investment over 50 years is only around 20% and with a solar power system you are likely to exceed this within only 5-6 years. From then on the percentage return you get each year just goes up and up as power prices go up and up over the next 30 years