Photovoltaic Panels

 

With all its sunshine Hawaii is a great place for solar.   Two types of solar energy systems are available to tap into this wonderful free energy.  These types consist of solar water heating systems and photovoltaic systems.

 Solar water heating systems are very efficient at converting the sun’s energy into hot water.  Water in coils placed on the roof is heated by the sun, and then the water goes to a hot water heater.  Tremendous savings result, because the water heater does not have to completely heat the water that is coming into the building.  A hot water heater is still required as a backup because clouds may block the sun from heating up these coils.  This system alone usually results in approximately a 30% savings in your electric bill.  Because it is so efficient, we recommend installing a solar water heating system prior to installing a photovoltaic system.

     Currently there is a $750.00 rebateavailable for first time solar water heating systems.  Check out the Hawaii Energy Efficiency Program for details.

     Photovoltaic systems harness the sun’s light energy and transforms it into electrical energy.  There are three types of photovoltaic systems.  These are grid tied, off grid and a combination of these two.  There are several benefits for harnessing the sun’s free energy in this way.  For example, these systems can lower or eliminate your electric bills.  Also photovoltaic systems require very little maintenance.  They run silently  & reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, so they are also environmentally friendly.

     Grid tied systems, depending on the type, can be the simplest, least expensive and most maintenance free of all the types of photovoltaic systems. Their primary disadvantage is that they are automatically shut down if the grid goes down.  This feature is required to protect electricians who maybe working on the grid. 

     Since grid tied systems are connected directly to Hawaiian Electric Company’s, HECO’s, grid.  A power sharing contract needs to be made between the homeowner and HECO.  Many systems generate more electricity than they need during the day.  This surplus energy is transferred over to the grid.  During the night however the system cannot generate any energy, so the system takes energy from the grid.  If the system generates more energy than it uses, HECO will issue a kilowatt hour credit for the excess.  If the system generates less electrical energy than you consume, you will end up paying the electric company for the amount of consumption that your system did not generate.

     To get the maximum benefit from this type of system, people need to be aware of a time sensitive issue.  Forsome neighborhoods, HECO is stating, that once 15% of the houses have systems installed, a technical review is required before permitting more houses to tie into the grid.  Possibly these late comers will not get any credit from the electric company for their surplus energy. 

Off grid systems, are fairly simple, but they are a little more complex and require more maintenance than a grid tied system.  Because the presence of batteries, the extra maintenance required. The main advantage here is that the power is always on, even when the grid is down.  This is provided that the battery pack is sufficiently large and that there are sufficient solar panels present to keep them charged.  This is the only type of system available for a building where utility power is not present.  This type of system is ideal for RVs, secluded vacation cottages and homes that need uninterrupted power.

Shining Sun

 

 

Combination Systems, are the most versatile.  They are also the most expensive and the most complex.  Some of these systems can send and receive power from the grid, and automatically disconnect when the grid is down, and still provide power.  When the grid is down these systems run off the batteries or a portable generator power or both.

GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES

     The government is strongly encouraging the installation of both solar water and photovoltaic systems.  This makes sense because they both help to protect the environment since they decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.  Currently, as April 2012, substantial tax credits are still available for these types of solar installations.  The federal government offers 30% of the installed cost and the State of Hawaii offers 35% of the installed cost.  That is a whopping 65% of the cost.  These credits will probably not last forever, so this is a good time to benefit from the incentives the government is presently offering.  These credit only applies toward taxes that you owe.  If you are not paying any tax or are in a lower tax bracket these benefits are not available or are reduced.  Fortunately, you can carry over unused credits to following years until they are used up.  The State of Hawaii also has refundable and non-refundable credit options.  This paragraph applies to the non-refundable credit option.

    Some members in our local legislature are trying to eliminate the state solar tax credit.  Many contend that this tax credit makes solar an affordable option to all Hawaii residents.  If you are interested saying no to these legislators you may sign a petition at the following website: www.savehawaiisolar.com.

     Contact us today to get started on  tapping into free energy from the sun.  Our management is focused on serving you with reasonably priced quality solutions.  Call us for a free estimate.  We can also install solar attic fans to help you further save on energy.

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