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Are Home Solar Panels Really Worth It?

 

How do you know if your home is good for solar? If you are concerned about reducing your home electricity cost or you are interested keeping up with the latest solar technology then read on…

Is it worth going solar?

Will it save you money? Will you get a return on your investment?

Let’s put that another way. Does installing home solar panels make sense for you?

If you are concerned with reducing your home electricity cost then you should probably spend some time thinking about home solar.

There’s a lot to consider, for sure. It gets confusing fast.

When does solar make sense?

First, do you own your own home? To be a home solar customer, you must own the home where you are installing. Is your roof in a sunny spot and in good condition? It’s not possible to to install solar on a leaking or damaged roof. Is your awesome new roof shaded by trees or other buildings? Do you live in the home full time? Do you have a large or extended family living in the home? Is your utility bill over $200? Do you have a credit score over 650, or personal financial resources?

If you answer mostly yes to these questions, home solar may very well be worth it…

Is Hawaii still good for solar?

Since net metering ended in Hawaii, many people now feel that it might not be worth installing home solar panels anymore in the Aloha State. Net metering customers used to be able to sell excess power back to the utility at about 29c and end up with a $19 bill. The regulators changed these rules a few years ago and now new customers have to use all of the energy they produce at home.

Yes, solar still fits Hawaii very well.  Hawaii has:

  • Highest residential electricity rates in the US
  • Highest average residential bill in the US – $203
  • Residential rates are 215% higher than the national average
  • Lots of sun

How much do you pay for home electricity right now in Hawaii?

Residential electricity prices in Hawaii are expected to rise 44% over the next 10-years, according to Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc, the company that owns HECO, MECO and HELCO.

Do you have air-conditioning at home? Do you have electric cooking, washer, dryer? Do you have a hot-tub or a pool? In Hawaii, lots of families have these creature comforts at home, and we love to invite Ohana (family) over to enjoy them with us.

If your electricity bill is:

  • $150 per month, solar starts to get pretty appealing
  • $200 per month, solar is obviously a great investment
  • $500 per month or more, it’s a no brainer

How much will you save with solar?

For most homeowners who decide to install solar panels at home, monthly savings is usually what matters most. Solar can significantly reduce, or almost eliminate your monthly fixed costs. With today’s utility programs that require customers to install energy storage systems (batteries) at home, customers can cut their bill to as little as $33.

“My SunPower panels produce as much as 155kWh per day, saving $59/day over $21,000 a year! – Karl, Haiku

Add all those months of saving up and you get lifetime savings. They typical home solar system is warrantied for 25-years, but actually lasts much longer. The right sized home solar system can save hundreds of thousands of dollars for its owner over the long term.

Even better, the price of solar panels and all the other equipment you need to build a solar system at home has fallen dramatically in recent years. Installers in Hawaii are also super competitive, and you should get a couple bids for your project so you know you are not being ripped off. Cheapest does not equal best savings and you get what you pay for. The cheapest provider on the market will probably come with a bunch of issues.

You might have heard about tax credits available to individuals that install solar panels at home. Well, Hawaii has the best solar tax credits available in the US. If you decide to purchase your home solar system, you may claim up to 30% of the system cost as a credit on any federal income taxes you owe. This program is called the Investment Tax Credit or ITC. Link. On top of the ITC, if you pay income tax in the State of Hawaii, you can claim a further 35% of the system cost in state tax credits. This amazing combo of federal and state credits means that the financial return can get above 20%.

Payback and savings. How soon does solar start saving you?

If you purchase the system directly with cash or loan, the system will pay for itself within about 4 years through the savings you make on your electricity cost. If you also want to install solar batteries with your home system so you can use your energy at night, and have back-up power, the payback is a bit longer, about 6 years.

You might not want to invest all that capital in the system yourself. Okay. No problem. If your credit score is 650 or greater, you can lease the system, no money down. Simply make lower monthly payments for the energy that your home system produces. Solar batteries can also be leased for a low monthly payment under this program. The leasing company takes care of the maintenance, insurance and service calls to make sure you are getting the amount solar electricity you expect.

Our customers have access to many different solar loans. If you have at 20% or more equity in your home, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan will be the cheapest way to buy solar, and will give you the fastest return on your investment. Alternatively, most banks and credit unions offer attractive rates for home energy projects that allow you to install for little or no money down, and also take the solar tax credits available in Hawaii. If your bank or credit union cannot provide the loan you need, we have access to several speciality lenders that can often lend larger amounts for home solar projects, in some cases up to $100,000, subject to eligibility.

How to know if your home is good for solar

The person who owns the home is the only one who can sign a contract. If you are a renter and you want your landlord to consider installing a solar system, please contact us using the referral form and we will follow up directly with the landlord.

So you’re a homeowner who wants to save money with solar. The next thing to think about is your roof. How old is it? Is it in good repair? Was it replaced or repaired within the last 10 years? What direction is it facing? Is it shaded by trees or other buildings? We will investigate your roof initially using satellite imagery and then follow up with home visits once you decide to move forward.

Now that we are installing awesome solar batteries from companies like Tesla and LG, we are going to need to use some of your external wall space for those. We have some really cool battery installation photos in this gallery so you can see what it looks like on your wall. 

 

Solar & Battery Installations in Hawaii

Should I wait for better technology?

We are often asked by customers if they should wait for better technology, will solar panels improve in the future, will batteries get cheaper and smaller? We’ve all seen amazing social media videos featuring crazy technologies. But we are convinced that the solar panel and battery technology available today works and saves you real money today. Every day you wait for a technological leap forward you are wasting a chance to save now.

After home batteries, the next big thing in solar is probably going to be the solar roof tile. We know Tesla is manufacturing a roof tile that has a photovoltaic module built into it and other companies offer something similar.

Explore your solar proposal today

Our dedicated sales team has literally worked on thousands of home solar proposals.
It is free to ask us for a proposal, please contact us below:

 

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Rising Sun Solar
355 Hukilike St
Suite 201
Kahului, HI 96732