The Big Island of Hawaii, is the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands with a combined area of over 4,028 square miles. That not only makes it the largest island in the United States, but is also larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined. While its population is small compared to other states, electricity rates on Big Island are some of the highest in the nation with residents using the Hawaiian Electric and Light Company paying $0.32/KWh - more than double the rate paid by those in Oahu, or Maui. These high rates come from Hawaii's lack of native fossil fuels, meaning that all electricity production materials are imported from elsewhere in the world. The island’s relative isolation means that the costs of transporting fuel to the island are incredibly high – which is why there is a move now to bring solar power to large parts if the island.
Thanks to the Big Island's year round sunny weather and tropical location solar power is now a viable option for providing the electrical needs of the population. The government has set a high bar for solar power, legislating that at least 70% of all Hawaii's energy must come from solar-powered sources by the year 2030. Several Big Island solar companies have risen up in recent times to meet this growing demand.
The solar companies on Big Island work hard to offer government tax credits and incentives to help this process become affordable for the average homeowner as well. The government provides Up to $1000 to help pay the costs of installing a solar water heater, or you can receive up to 35% of the cost to install a full solar power system.
Another hidden benefit of these systems set up by the Big Island solar companies is that the government will buy back power produced by your home that is not being used. The current market rate for this extra energy is up to $0.218/KWh, which leads to the average solar system paying for itself in four years or less.
With ever rising demand and the big pushes by government to roll out more and more solar energy systems, the solar companies on Big Island are rising to the challenge and providing the Big Island with the renewable power it needs to move into itself forward into the future.
This is great news for the islands residents and is likely to put Hawaii at the forefront of renewable energy and sustainability in the United States. If Florida, California and the other southern states follow suit we could see a more pronounced advancement in renewable energy in the U.S.
Solar power energy has come on in leaps and bounds in the last decade but the reality is that solar panels for home use are still relatively expensive. Most people do not feel confident enough to install and maintain solar panels themselves so have to rely on third party companies to carry out the work. There have been a number of problems with companies overestimating the return on investments and there are often ludicrously high installation fees. Using government backed schemes and doing you research is essential if you are thinking of installing solar panels and Hawaii’s Big Island scheme may set new benchmarks for support being offered to residents in different states.