Can I Eliminate My Power Bill With Solar Panels?

The cost of energy in Hawaii continues to rise, and homeowners are looking for ways to cut their utility bills. The time is right to consider solar power as a way to save money. You may even be able to eliminate your electricity bill every month!

 

Our staff is trained and experienced in roofing and solar panel installation, so we are here to help guide you through this process to hopefully get you to the point where you

 can potentially eliminate your power bill — or, at the very least, reduce your bill to a great deal.

Here you will find information on energy usage, battery backup systems, utility fees, the location of your future system, as well as the potential cost, along with tax and property incentives you may not be aware of that are available to you.

Top Four Things to Consider When Trying to Eliminate Your Power Bill With Solar Panels

While it is possible to eliminate your power bill, we want to address the things you need to consider that will ultimately determine if you will no longer receive an energy bill from your local power company.

1. What is Your Energy Usage?

To calculate how much energy your home will need every month, there are several questions to ask yourself to help our staff determine how much energy you use now and may in the future.

 

  • How many people live in your home? 
  • Are you planning on having children? 
  • Will the size of your family be shrinking as members move out? 
  • Will you have guests frequently?
  • Are you going to be expanding your home in the future? Expanding can include:
    • Adding a guest suite
    • Installing a hot tub
    • Buying an electric vehicle that needs to be charged
    • Buying additional appliances that will require energy to run

 

Anything that would add to your home that would require more power is something you need to think about. While a smaller solar panel system may benefit you now, if you plan on changing your usage in the future, you may want to plan and choose a bigger system to fit those future needs.

2. Are You Going to Install a Battery Backup System?

One way to utilize the energy absorbed from sunlight during nighttime hours is via a battery backup system, which absorbs excess energy from the sun for use at night. A battery backup eliminates your need to draw power out of local grids and keep you safe in an emergency without compromising comfort or safety.

 

Another bonus to the battery backup system is that any excess energy that your solar panel system absorbs can be diverted to your local grid once it’s fully charged. That extra energy can be credited to your account, so if for some reason you do have to pull power from your local grid during bad weather, the credit can help offset whatever power you use. What that means is that credit can help keep your bill low.

 

Whether or not you have a battery backup system, your solar panel will still send any excess energy it absorbs during daylight into the grid. This power can be credited to an account and used as needed when night comes around— this process is known as net metering.

3. Have You Considered Utility Fees?

If your home is still connected to your local grid, there are specific fees you will still be expected to pay regardless of whether or not you have to use any power provided by your local power company.

 

The “Basic Service Fee” is charged to all who are still connected to the local grid. You are charged this fee because you are still using the company’s meter, lines, transformers, etc. You can avoid this fee by not having your backup battery system hooked up to the local power grid, so you’re off-grid.

4. Do You Have Chose a Location for a System? 

Another significant issue is the location of your solar panel system. If you have a lot of shade trees around that block sunlight from reaching your panels, the amount of energy your system provides will be even less. 

 

Unfortunately, what this means is that if your system is not producing enough energy or isn’t the correct size, you may not see much of a reduction in energy costs. This issue is why it’s essential to speak with a professional installer about your expectations and needs.

Disadvantages of Solar Panel Systems to Consider 

1. Weather

The weather stays relatively consistent in temperatures throughout the islands during various parts of the year. However, the time of year that experiences the greatest amount of rainfall each year occurs between October and April.

 

During periods of inclement weather, there is less sunlight available for the solar panel system to absorb, which can impact whether or not you need to pull power from your local grid to power your home. If you live off-grid, you may find yourself without power if you don’t have enough energy stores up to use during poor weather or nighttime hours.

2. High Upfront Costs

If you're thinking about installing solar panels, it's important to note that the upfront costs will vary depending on your specific needs. Factors like where they need to install the system and if a new roof is necessary can significantly raise the price of an entire system.

Let’s discuss those upfront costs further.

How Much Do Solar Panel Systems Cost?

Solar panel systems vary in cost due to several factors, including the size of the setup you need, installation location, and if additional modifications need to be made to a roofing system if it’s not an ideal surface for a system to be installed on.

 

In addition, the cost of your system can vary depending on the size of the building it will be powering. For example, a larger space requires more energy, which means it will need a more extensive system.

 

In Hawaii, the average cost of a solar panel system, including installation costs, runs between $10,653 up to $13,021, which averages out to $2.40 to $2.93 per kilowatt-hour.

 

It’s important to note, though, other items that can affect the cost of a system include permits, inspection costs, the racking you choose, how much electricity you need, the type of panels you select, and the quality of the installation.

 

Unfortunately, some companies provide low quotes for installation, and as a result, their systems aren’t installed correctly, or they use low-quality equipment. That’s why we recommend that you work with a company like us that is knowledgeable in roofing and solar panel products and installation.

 

If the costs of installing a system are holding you back from moving forward with getting solar panels to eliminate your power bill, there are some other options that may help you in your decision-making process. 

Leasing a System is an Option

If you do not have the funds needed upfront to purchase an entire solar panel system, there is another option you can consider that some companies provide: a leasing program. By leasing a system, you avoid the high upfront cost and instead pay a fixed monthly payment based on the energy you use.

 

However, please remember, you won’t see as much savings long-term by leasing, and there is the potential for your system to be repossessed if you fail to make a payment on time. You also don’t have access to tax incentives, like the 26% federal solar tax credit covered below.

Solar And Property Incentive Programs

If you prefer not to lease a solar panel system, and live in the United States, you can apply for a federal solar tax credit. The benefit to this credit is that it provides a tax credit that equals up to 26% of the total price of the installed solar system. You would then claim this credit at tax time for the same year you had the system installed.

 

In addition, Hawaii residents can also apply for a solar tax credit that totals $2,250.

 

Another incentive you may not be aware of is property tax exemptions, which means, for residents living in Honolulu, property owners can reap the benefits of a solar panel system raising their property’s value. However, they are exempt from having to pay extra taxes based on the higher value. You can claim this exemption for 25 years.

Contact Us for All Your Roofing Needs

Kapili Roofing & Painting offers a wide range of services to address all of your roofing needs. We provide residential and commercial customers with everything from repairs to roof replacements and even new installations.

 

Our contractors offer you peace of mind knowing we will take care of every detail, no matter how big or small. In addition, we provide our customers with high-quality project materials that are installed by our highly trained and knowledgeable staff.

 

Our staff has extensive experience with various roofing systems, including asphalt shingle roofs and standing seam metal. We also install solar panels for commercial properties as well as residential homes!

 

You can request a free estimate today by filling out our online form or calling our office at 808-621-7663.