Solar power installations in 2010 in Hawaii increased the total number by more than one hundred percent. “I think part of it is the public understanding the programs that are out there, that everyone wants to go green, and we have tax incentives. It’s a combination of all three,” said Darrek Fujikami an energy specialist with the Hawaii Department of Economic Development and Tourism. (Source: Cleanenergyauthority.com)
Up to 65 percent of a solar installation’s cost can be covered by a combination of state and federal tax incentives. Also most of Hawaii’s electricity is produced by petroleum-burning generators, so their cost per kilowatt hour in 2010 was 28.5 cents. Petroleum prices fluctuate, so their electricity cost does also. Additionally, the petroleum has to be shipped to the islands, which adds to its cost, so there has been some incentive to switch to a different power source. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative found that 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy could come from clean sources by 2030. Solar, wind, and ethanol from sugar cane farms could all be in play to accomplish this dramatic shift.
They have enough solar there now to consider net metering, the practice of selling power from solar panels back to the main electrical grid. With net metering, the cost of power consumption can be zero dollars as the system generates power to the grid during daylight hours, which can offset night consumption. (Not all systems in the state are eligible for net metering, unless certain requirements are met.)
Hawaii is also doing well in the number of solar water heaters. About one in four single-family homes have them. Increasing clean energy sources in the beautiful tourist state is very sensible for business as well, because it protects the natural environment that is such a draw for millions of visitors.