Hawaii may seem like a dream destination for a builder looking to include solar as standard, but dive deeper into the state’s energy market and the outlook may surprise you.
TecHome Builder’s ongoing solar series takes it state-by-state to provide you with a better grasp on the current solar market, including laws and advice from builders on overcoming obstacles.
Part 17 of our series heads to Hawaii, where we speak with luxury-custom homebuilder Mark Mench of the Kailua-based C2C Builders, which offers clients the choice of either solar hot water or solar electric systems as standard on all new construction projects.
“Rooftop solar has been an exciting roller coaster ride in Hawaii,” says Mench. “With Hawaii leading the US in solar installations per capita, we have had to adapt to the ever-changing market.”
However, Mench admits that while the Aloha State is doing a lot to help encourage solar adoption by driving down installation and equipment costs, the state has dropped the ball when it comes to elements of solar legislation.
Hawaii’s Solar Outlook and Overcoming Obstacles
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Hawaii’s Solar Background
In 2014, Hawaii imported more than 90 percent of the energy it consumed, leading to an energy market crisis in 2015 and the highest electricity rates in the nation.
To combat rapidly rising electricity rates, Hawaii’s leadership turned to solar technologies and legislation. It is still the only state to pass a legal deadline for producing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The state must meet this extremely ambitious goal by 2045.
Hawaii is taking steps to meet this goal through renewable energy technologies. Last year, Hawaii generated more solar electricity per capita than any other state and is one of seven states with utility-scale geothermal capacity.