Hawaii’s First FIT is on Maui

January 14, 2011

A feed-in tariff is a policy mechanism to encourage renewable energy use where it is as affordable as grid power (known as grid parity).¬† Doug McLeod is Maui’s incoming energy administrator and he has installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of his commercial property in Kihei. This happens to be the state’s first feed-in-tariff photovoltaic system.

McLeod’s system was installed by ProVision Solar, a company based in Hilo, and cost $50,000. However, 65 percent of that cost can be offset by state and federal tax credits. When the system is up and running, it is estimated that it will produce 10,220 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, which will be provided to Maui Electric, earning him $2,200-$2,800.

Kihei real estate is the perfect choice for harnessing solar power, thanks to how frequently sunny it is, but McLeod is having another system installed on the roof of his commercial property in Wailuku as well. This one is expected to be operational within a couple of weeks, but it would be interesting to know how it will perform compared with the other. Kihei is typically much sunnier than Wailuku.

Participating in this feed-in-tariff program involves selling energy back to the utility provider for 20 years at a fixed rate. This program now applies to Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Those of you with any interest in not only removing your own electric bill, but making money off a photovoltaic system should look into this. Not only are there tax credits, but some Maui solar companies offer financing so you can pay for your system over time, instead of fronting a large sum of money at the start. This way, payments could be made with money made by selling the energy back to the utility provider. It is something worth researching.

Hopefully you have found this blog interesting and it has given you some ideas on minimizing your cost of living on Maui. If you need any assistance, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!

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