Is Solar Still a Thing on Maui?

The simple answer is, of course! There are two types of solar: PV (photovoltaic) and thermal (solar hot water).

Solar Thermal or Solar Hot Water has been around Hawaii since the ’60s. The basic premise of solar hot water is the sun heats the water in a tank and then is delivered to your showers, sinks, washers, etc. The water in the tank is pumped up to the roof during the day and then is stored in a tank. So what happens when there is no sun? Most solar hot water heaters have an electric back up. My family hardly ever needs the electric back up, and we’re a family of 4 with 2 tween daughters! On average, the savings for a family of 4 on solar hot water can be 20 – 40% of your electric bill. Even though it may be costly upfront, MECO is currently offering a finance program. Click the link for more info on solar hot water.

Example of Solar Hot Water Panels

Solar PV (photovoltaic) is simple, but there are so many programs to choose from for private rooftop solar, which one is right for you? A brief list of differences is listed below:

  • Customer Grid-Supply Plus (CGS Plus) systems include grid support technology to manage grid reliability and allow the utility company (MECO) to remotely monitor system performance, technical compliance, and, if necessary, control for grid stability.
  • Smart Export customers with a renewable system, mainly PV and battery energy storage systems have the option to export energy to the grid from 4 p.m. – 9 a.m. Systems include grid support technology to manage grid reliability and system performance.
  • Customer Self-Supply (CSS) is intended only for private rooftop solar installations that are designed to not export any electricity to the grid. Customers who choose this option are not compensated for any export of electric energy.
  • Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) participants receive a PUC-approved credit for electricity sent to the grid and are billed at the retail rate for electricity they use from the grid. The program remains open until the installed capacity has been reached. As with most of MECO’s programs, they are always subject to change.

CGS+ Example #1

CGS+ Example #2

Combining Batteries with PV

Back up batteries have become more popular over the years. Most of you have heard of Tesla batteries, but there are also other great battery technologies available.

Two Tesla Powerwall 2 Batteries Installed Outside

Battery technology works as a backup power source when the sun is not out. During the average sunny Maui day, the solar panels collect energy for the batteries to run your household electricity at night. Another great thing about batteries is you will still have cold beer during a power outage!

Solar Edge Inverter

My installer of choice is Wiki Wiki Solar and Electric. My experience with them has always been pleasant. I have referred many clients to them for both solar and electrical needs. For more information on Wiki Wiki Solar and Electric,  please do not hesitate to contact me at 808-870-0966 or

If you are looking for a home with solar hot water and solar PV, please see my blog or my new listing at 243 Molehulehu Street.

Leased Solar

All of the examples of solar PV above are owned systems. What if I am looking at a house, and it has a leased system? What does that mean? The big difference is that you do not own the equipment on your roof. Most leases have a 20 or 25-year term. Any and all maintenance is the responsibility of the leasing company.

There are a couple of different lease options. There are prepaid lease and traditional lease options. A prepaid lease is where you pay all of the lease payments upfront and no monthly fees. A traditional lease option is where you pay a monthly fee for the use of solar, but it’s usually less than your electric bill.

Regarding the solar information provided, please consult your accountant for information on tax credits and solar installer for available programs.

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