Maui businesses, homeowners and the county government are responding quickly to tax incentives and falling prices for solar electric power systems. Several ambitious projects have been set in motion recently, including a large upcountry installation on a five-acre plot that was a former pineapple field.
Although sunlight is prevalent in most areas on Maui, some feel that when the federal incentive periods end, the progress we are making collectively toward sustainable energy will slow. One of the more important incentives is the federal commercial property PV 30 percent cash rebate for costs, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
HNU Energy, a Maui PV installer has 15 commercial properties and two dozen homes lined up for solar power projects. Financing has also become available through some solar companies, so the daunting upfront cost of a PV system has been ameliorated for many formerly reluctant homeowners. It also helps that the components of these systems are cheaper than they used to be. The number of homeowners looking to have PV systems installed has climbed significantly.
Through “feed-in tarriff” PV investment programs, owners sign on to a 15-20-year power purchase agreement with the installation company that is installing their PV system. The owner gets their energy from that company, and in exchange, they pay nothing up front for the PV system being installed on their home. The energy that the PV company provides is generally cheaper than the utility companies. For example, Green Global Communities PV installers charges 22 cents per kilowatt-hour, while Maui Electric charges 30 cents for the same amount of energy. When the PV system is paid off, the system belongs to the owner who can sell extra energy generated back to Maui Electric. It’s a smart plan, provided maintenance doesn’t cost much.
For now, if you are interested in getting a PV system installed in your Maui home, take your pick. There are several companies on the island to choose from. If you are in the market for a home, that’s where we hope to help. We are South Maui real estate specialists, so if you are interested in living in that area, see our Maui real estate listings. If you have a specific set of criteria already in mind, try our Maui real estate search tool.