5 Best Solar Companies in Hawaii (2023)
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Hawaii had the nation’s highest electricity rate at $44.24 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in February 2023, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s nearly three times higher than the $15.96-kWh national average. Moving to solar would not only help Hawaii homeowners reduce their energy costs, but it would support the state’s ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 100% clean energy use by 2045.
We spent 80 hours researching the nation’s best solar installers to help homeowners prepare for their switch to renewable energy. Check out our list of top Aloha State installers below.
Here’s a quick look at the similarities and differences between Hawaii’s biggest solar companies.
Compare Solar Companies Across HI
|Star Rating||Best For||Location Presence||BBB Rating||Link|
|SunPower||Best High-Efficiency System||50 States||A+||Get Quote|
|Sunrun||Best Solar Panel Leasing||18 States||A+||Get Quote|
|Tesla Solar||Best Solar Tech||50 States||NR||Get Quote|
|RevoluSun Hawaii||Best Full-Service Hawaii Installer||3 states||A+||Get Quote|
|Rising Sun||Best Local Hawaii Installer||Hawaii||A+||Get Quote|
|Best For||Best High-Efficiency System|
|Location Presence||50 States|
|Best For||Best Solar Panel Leasing|
|Location Presence||18 States|
|Best For||Best Solar Tech|
|Location Presence||50 States|
|Best For||Best Full-Service Hawaii Installer|
|Location Presence||3 states|
Hawaii’s Top Solar Energy Companies
- SunPower: Best High-Efficiency System
- Sunrun: Best Solar Panel Leasing
- Tesla: Best Solar Tech
- RevoluSun Hawaii: Best Full-Service Hawaii Installer
- Rising Sun Solar: Best Local Hawaii Installer
SunPower: Best High-Efficiency System
With high-efficiency solar panels paired with its in-house solar components, SunPower custom builds high-performance solar systems designed for peak energy production.
Learn more: SunPower review
Sunrun: Best Solar Panel Leasing
Sunrun provides various solar financing options to meet every customer’s budget. The company offers solar leases, PPAs, and exclusive 25-year comprehensive warranties with ongoing maintenance services.
Learn more: Sunrun review
Tesla: Best Solar Tech
Available in all 50 states, Tesla’s advanced solar technology solutions include rooftop solar panels, solar roofing, and the popular Tesla Powerwall battery.
Learn more: Tesla Solar review
RevoluSun Hawaii: Best Full-Service Hawaii Installer
RevoluSun Hawaii partners with leading solar companies, such as SunPower and Tesla, to offer high-efficiency systems to Hawaii residents. The company also provides additional home services, such as energy efficiency audits, plus air conditioning and heating maintenance and repairs.
Rising Sun Solar: Best Local Hawaii Installer
Rising Sun Solar is Hawaii’s oldest solar installer, with decades of local solar market experience.
(All BBB ratings are current as of May 2023.)
Solar Incentives in Hawaii
Hawaii offers several generous solar incentives, credits, and rebates that help reduce solar panel system costs. The state offers federal and statewide incentives and additional utility- and city-based rebates and credits. Below is an overview of the available residential solar incentives.
The federal tax credit applies to most Hawaiian homeowners and provides a credit for up to 30% of your installation costs. This credit applies to your owed federal taxes and helps reduce or eliminate your tax liability after filing. The federal tax credit applies to various equipment, including photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar shingles and roofing, and standalone solar batteries.
The Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit (RETITC) provides a 35% state tax credit for system costs (with a $5,000 cap).
The GreenSun Hawaii financing option offers lower interest rates and minimal down payments. This financing program is offered through certain banks and credit unions. When we tried searching for this program, we found no centralized search database. Homeowners must search for lenders referencing the “GreenSun program” or “the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” This indicates their involvement in GreenSun Hawaii’s program. Loan terms vary by selected lender.
With the Green Energy Money Saver (GEMS) program, low- to moderate-income homeowners can apply for low-interest loans and no down payments. This includes solar power systems, solar hot water heaters, solar thermal water heaters, and heat pump water heaters. The programs require significant paperwork, and the application process takes time for approval. We recommend reviewing the full program terms and all the necessary paperwork before applying.
Net-metering was mandated statewide by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HIPUC) until the program ended in 2015. Now, net-metering access varies between state utility companies. With this program, customers receive electric bill credits for returning excess energy to the power grid. Utility companies with net-metering include: Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), Maui Electric Company (MECO), Hawaii Electric & Light Company (HELCO), and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). HECO, MECO, and HELCO now operate under Hawaiian Electric.
Additional city-based and utility company rebates offer extra savings on new solar systems and battery storage. For example, Hawaiian Electric offers up to $850 per kilowatt (kW) of solar energy storage capacity for Oahu and Maui customers. City and County of Honolulu residents receive a property tax exemption when installing solar energy solutions. This means their solar panels increase their home value without increasing their taxes.
Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) to find your location’s solar incentives.
What To Look For in a Solar Company
Below are some key factors to consider when comparing solar panel installers in Hawaii.
Beyond essential solar equipment and battery storage, solar installation companies offer special services and tools to support your system. Extras such as system monitoring, mobile apps, and online portals track system performance, energy use, and panel issues. Additional services such as energy audits assess your home’s efficiency and make appropriate upgrades. Some companies may also provide roofing, electrical, or other home services.
Most solar panel installations are handled by either in-house or third-party solar contractors, with communication and quality control cited as the options’ major differences. With an in-house team, you work with one designated project manager throughout the installation. In some cases, this individual is assigned to your project during the consultation and guides you through to final activation. Third-party contracts involve more points of contact, leading to miscommunication and delayed responses. Installation quality also varies by location, so there’s a higher chance of faulty installation.
Warranties and Power Production Guarantees
Warranties help protect your solar investment, ensuring your system continues working in the future. Most solar contractors offer two types of warranties: manufacturer (or product) and workmanship. The product warranty covers your panel for any manufacturing defects. With workmanship coverage, your solar solutions are protected against any issues that arise from poor or faulty installations. Since the average solar panel lasts around 25 years, we recommend choosing companies with warranty coverage that matches their life span. High-quality solar panels include 25-year warranties for manufacturer and workmanship coverage.
Some solar installation companies also offer power production guarantees. This guarantee outlines your expected panel production and offers replacement or compensation if panels drop in performance. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), panels drop 0.5% in efficiency yearly. Solar companies account for this degradation and create production guarantees to support their panels’ performance. Power production guarantees vary based on the type of panels. You’ll find cheap solar panels have power guarantees for 10–15 years or less, while top solar panels are covered for 25 years or longer.
Solar panel financing options play a major role in your return on investment (ROI) and solar incentive eligibility. Up-front or solar loans make you the legal system owner, qualifying you for federal and state solar incentives. These payment options also offer a better ROI and solar payback period, or the time it takes for panels to pay for themselves.
Payment options such as solar leases and power purchasing agreements (PPAs) make the solar company the legal owner, disqualifying you from additional savings. Although these payment options work for individuals uninterested in system ownership, they offer the least financial benefit, long-term savings, and ROI.
We recommend choosing cash payments or solar loans for your solar energy system.
When comparing customer support options, look for companies with multiple communication methods and extended hours. Many companies offer phone, email, and online forms to request additional help. Some companies also have online chat features to communicate with support teams. Our team experienced mixed results during our shopping experience, with some chats connecting to live agents and others offering unhelpful automated responses.
We recommend checking online reviews for mention of customer support experiences and note any callouts for delayed or unanswered inquiries. Although many service industries have varied customer service experiences, reliable customer support with a solar company is important before, during, and after installation.
How To Get a Solar Quote in Hawaii
To find the right solar installer, we recommend requesting multiple quotes from different companies. Compare each quote and check the total costs, including equipment, labor, and add-on accessories. The below guide explains what to expect when meeting with a solar company for a quote.
- Contact each solar company: Most companies provide an online form or phone number to start the quote process. Ensure the company offers a free quote, as a few companies charge for a solar consultation. When using the online form, check the terms and conditions since some companies sign you up for automated phone calls and SMS messaging. You may speak to multiple reps before scheduling an appointment. Based on our shopping experiences, we spoke with an initial representative that verified our area coverage before being connected with the sales rep. Companies may offer in-person or virtual consultation.
- Determine your energy usage: During your formal consultation, the rep must verify your average home energy use to build the right system for your needs. You’ll need a recent electricity bill for this step, although we recommend bringing several statements to help give a clearer picture of your use, especially during high-usage seasons such as summer or winter.
- Check your roof layout and design: A company rep will assess your roof and identify any structural and design complications. They will also check for any nearby shading that could reduce your panels’ energy production. They may recommend tree removal services if you experience a lot of surrounding shading. If you choose a virtual roof review, the representative will use satellite imagery to begin your solar project design.
- Create your solar energy project: Your consultant will design your final solar energy system based on your roof assessment and energy use. You’ll receive a final quote and contract with design details. Your quote should include your solar system, system components, and accessories, such as solar batteries or electric vehicle (EV) chargers. When we spoke to professional solar installers, they advised that any solar quote should include details for all equipment costs, labor costs, racking systems, and warranty information. Your quote should also outline your expected solar payback period and financing options. Some solar companies also assist you with applying for federal and state solar incentives.
Based on our analysis, we’ve selected SunPower as the top solar provider in The Aloha State. The company builds some of the most efficient solar systems in the residential space and includes in-house components for improved, streamlined performance. Hawaii homeowners also have peace of mind knowing their SunPower system includes a 25-year comprehensive warranty, providing long-term protection for their solar investment.
Hawaii residents should compare at least three solar quotes before committing to a solar installer
Other Hawaii Home Service Resources
FAQ About Solar Companies in HI
What are the benefits of going solar in Hawaii?
By going solar in Hawaii, you’ll benefit from lower energy spending, reduced carbon footprint, and better energy independence. Hawaii residents also benefit from a boost in their homes’ value while supporting the state’s 100% renewable energy goal.
How long do solar panels last in Hawaii?
The average solar panel lasts about 25 years in Hawaii, which is consistent with its life span in other states. Depending on solar panel quality, they can last even longer. For example, high-quality monocrystalline panels can last up to 40 years with proper care and maintenance.
Is it worth it to get solar in Hawaii?
Solar is a worthwhile investment in Hawaii due to the state’s high electricity rates and generous solar incentives. Investing in solar panels helps reduce electricity costs and save more money over time.
Is the Tesla Powerwall available in Hawaii?
Yes, the Tesla Powerwall is available in Hawaii through certified Tesla installers, such as Rising Sun Solar and the Powerwall Direct. When we ran a quote for a home in Honolulu, Tesla Powerwall costs started at around $15,288 before applying the federal solar tax credit.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for solar providers is on a 100-point system based on five factors:
- Payment options (40 points): Options include purchase, loan, lease, and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Companies receive points for each of the four options they provide.
- Solar services (30 points): Does the company provide in-house installation of solar panels and battery backups? Can the company also monitor energy production and perform energy-efficiency audits to ensure system performance? The more options available, the higher the score.
- Warranty options (10 points): The success of a residential solar system depends on the workmanship, performance guarantees, and length of product coverage. The more warranties a company offers, the higher the score it receives.
- State availability (10 points): We award the most points to companies with the broadest service area and state availability.
- Reputation (10 points): We factor in how the Business Better Bureau (BBB) scores each company. We deduct points for any alerts or pending lawsuits.
Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at email@example.com.