Save money, save the Earth, and increase your home's value by adding solar power to your home! Hawaii has plenty of sun all year. A virtually endless supply of power just a few million miles away, is sending it's potential power to us everyday. Oahu has an average solar power factor of about 450-500, which is the highest possible rating.
When it comes to solar power for your home, there are two different ways things to talk about: water, and power. Heating your home's water with solar power is basically a no brainer. The amount of sun we get and the amount of water you can heat in Hawaii makes it so economically sound that anybody without a solar water heater is basically throwing away money.
The Hawaii state tax credit for solar water heating is 35% of the installed cost. Since an average 80 gallon solar water heating system costs about $7000, the tax credit is about $2450. On top of that, the new 2009 Federal tax credit is 30% of the cost with no dollar amount limit. As if that weren't enough, Hawaii Electric will give you a $1000 rebate if you install an approved system. So your net out of pocket is somewhere around $1500, which you should save in your power bill in a year or two.
My Solar power Systems - PV and Solar Water
In September 2008, my power bill was over $625. Shocked at this huge bill, I started doing simple things, like changing out all my light bulbs to CFL, cutting my computer down from 3 monitors to 2. I then lowered the temperature on my water heater, but still wasn't satisfied.
After contacting multiple solar power companies, I finally found one that would finance the cost of a solar water heater and Photovoltaic power system at a very low interest rate until it paid for itself. Utilizing the 35% State and 30% Federal tax credit, I was able to put a 2 panel solar water heater and 9 photovoltaic panels with Sunny Boy converter on my home for very little money out of pocket.
The panels (pictured) were installed in stages throughout the month of October â'08., and as you can see below, my power bill was cut in half within the first full 30 days of use! It helps that I lives in a very sunny part of Oahu, just East of Diamond Head. Even in Hawaii, the amount of sun you get throughout the year can vary quite a bit depending on your location. Areas like Manoa and Kailua that are often overcast might have trouble producing as much power as very sunny areas like Hawaii Kai and Kapolei, especially in the winter.
Fast forward 3 years, and I have added another 26 PV panels to bring my total to 35, and thus lowering my power bill to $84 in June 2010!
Add to that savings the fact that for 2009, the Federal Tax credit for solar power is no longer capped at $2000, and the savings just add up even faster.
Because of the tax credits and the near free financing, the final cost is quite a bit less than the intial out of pocket cost. On the water heater, I spent $2500 for an extra large tank after the tax credits.
As of October 2010, I have a total of 35 photovoltaic solar panels. I now send about 400kwh back into the Hawaii Electric system, and my power bill is down to about $50 a month!
Notice that my meter number has changed. That's because I now have a Net Meter, which means that when I'm not using power, energy created by my PV panels sends power back into the system, for which HECO now gives me a credit each month.
Check out this Net Energy Bill that shows I sent 208 kWh into the system in April 2010:
Solar Power for Low Income Families
As another part of my real estate business, I have also purchase solar water heating systems that I place on the homes of low income families. I receive the Federal and State tax credits on the systems with and the low income families pay me for the solar energy that my system provides them.
This is a close up of the Sunny Boy converter, installed by Mercury Solar. The installation took about 4 hours, and sits next to Hawaiian Electricâ's meter, which now spins a lot slower than it used to! You can see that the Sunny Boy has produced 2908 kwh over the last year, most of it with just 9 PV panels.
More good news - After 1 year, I've saved almost 50,000lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere! For most people, the monthly savings is the biggest motivation, but certainly it's great to reduce my carbon footprint along with the financial benefits. The acidification of the seas may be the biggest threat from Carbon emissions. As more and more carbon enters the air, the sea absorbs more CO2 than it used to and can no longer maintain its pH, causing the death of billions of micro organisms that are the foundation of our food chain.
Are you interested in Solar Power? Please contact me for more information on how to get your home solar powered!
For solar installations on Oahu, I recommend Mercury Solar!