Hawaii Solar Rebates And Incentives

Rebates list

Hawaii Rebates and Incentives Summary



Hawaii, land of volcanoes, waterfalls and immense beauty, is taking steps to become the most energy-independent state in the U.S. through an ambitious partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE). Under the partnership, DOE and Hawaii established the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Since Hawaii traditionally has relied on expensive diesel imports to generate electricity, it has the highest electric costs in the U.S. In fact, in 2012 it became the first state to reach parity with solar. Through the initiative and other incentives like tax credits, a feed-in tariff, existing net-metering program, and low-interest loan programs, Hawaii is helping its residents make the transition to solar and its renewable cousins. The state also offers rebates for solar hot water systems.

Under the clean energy initiative, DOE will help Hawaii’s smaller islands transition to 100 percent renewables by 2030. Across all the islands Hawaii will attempt to drastically reduce its consumption of petroleum—by about 72 percent—and plans to have 40 percent of its energy coming from renewable resources like solar, wind and ocean power by 2030.

The state still has a long way to go. As of 2010, 90 percent of the island state’s energy comes from petroleum, with three quarters of the state’s energy being generated by primarily petroleum power-plants, according to the DOE’s Energy Information Administration. While coal powers most of the United States, transporting coal to Hawaii via ship, would likely be prohibitively expensive, compared to shipping petroleum to the state.

The state already is a leader in the nation when it comes to solar-water heaters. As of 2010 the state already had 80,000 solar water heaters installed. And, thanks to the 2008 Solar Roofs Act, most new homes in the state are required to have solar water heaters as well.

Given Hawaii’s subtropical environment with mild year-round temperatures, energy use is lower in the state than in most other states. And because of its location in the Pacific, the state has vast potential for different types of renewable energy, including solar, geothermal (it is built on volcanoes after all), wind, and ocean power.

(As of October 2012)

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Building Energy Code


Note: The Hawaii Building Code Council has proposed adopting 2009 IECC standards.

Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.

No schedule exists for making statewide changes to the Hawaii Model Energy Code (HMEC). Each county reviews its code periodically. If changes are deemed necessary on a statewide basis, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and

City and County of Honolulu - Real Property Tax Exemption for Alternative Energy Improvements


In September 2009, the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed Bill 58 to create a real property tax exemption for alternative energy improvements. This bill became effective October 1, 2009. The alternative energy property installed on a building, property, or land is exempt from property taxes for 25 years. For the purposes of this property tax exemption, alternative energy sources include solar, wind, hydropower, tidal, wave, solid waste and increased efficiency in fossil-fuel burning facilities. Energy sources based on fossil fuels, nuclear fuels or geothermal energy are not eligible

City and County of Honolulu - Solar Loan Program


The Honolulu Solar Loan Program is offered by the City and County of Honolulu. The program offers zero-interest loans to income-eligible homeowners for the installation of solar water heating and photovoltaic systems through the City's Rehabilitation Loan Program.

The zero-interest loans are available for single-family homes and individual condominiums with home owners association approval.. For loans over $10,000, a mortgage lien will be secured on the property. Additional repairs such as re-roofing work, etc. may be included in the installation work depending on the City inspection.

Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard


Note: Hawaii's Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) will not be separate from the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) until January 1, 2015. Rules have not yet been established for the EEPS.


Hawaii enacted legislation (HB 1464) in June 2009 that established an Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS). Hawaii's EEPS and Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) are related. Until January 1, 2015, energy efficiency is included in Hawaii's RPS. However, beginning in 2015, energy efficiency and displacement or offset technologies will no longer be eligible to fulfill Hawaii's

Farm and Aquaculture Alternative Energy Loan


In July 2008 Hawaii enacted legislation (HB 2261) which created a loan program for agriculture and aquaculture renewable energy projects. Farmers and aquaculturists may receive loans for projects involving photovoltaic (PV) energy, hydroelectric power, wind power generation, methane generation, bio-diesel and ethanol production. Loans may provide up to 85% of the project cost (up to a maximum of $1,500,000) for a term of up to forty years. To be eligible, the applicant must be a qualified farmer or aquaculturist with a sound credit rating and the ability to repay the loan, as determined by

Green Infrastructure Bonds


In July 2013, Hawaii enacted legislation allowing the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to issue Green Infrastructure Bonds to secture low-cost financing for clean energy installations, including both renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The bond proceeds will be used to fund the on-bill financing program being developed by the Public Utilities Commission. Bondholders will be repaid with funds collected from the state Public Public Benefits Fund.

GreenSun Hawaii


The GreenSun Hawaii program works with various lenders throughout Hawaii to offer financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades. Through the program, homeowners may be eligible to finance Energy Star refrigerators, Energy Star air conditioners, solar water heating systems or heat pumps, and solar photovoltaic systems.  Non-residential property owners may be eligible to finance lighting retrofits or upgrades, air conditioning, solar water heating systems, solar photovoltaic systems, and windows. An energy audit is required for non-residential property owners.

GreenSun Hawaii

Hawaii Energy


Hawaii Energy is a public benefits fund (PBF) funded by a surcharge on utility bills that is based on a percentage of total utility revenue. The PBF pays for a number of clean energy incentive, rebate, and exchange programs. For more information on specific programs, visit the Hawaii Energy website.

The percentage of total utility revenue is used to establish a target budget for the PBF. The surcharge is set on a cents per kilowatt-hour ($/kWh) basis to meet the target budget. The surcharge is determined by dividing the target budget (based on a percentage of total utility sales) by

Interconnection Standards


Note: Given the unprecedented level of distributed solar generation that has raised substantial grid reliability concerns, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is undergoing a major interconnection & reliability standards review in Docket No. 2011-0206. To address reliability concerns, the PUC has authorized Hawaii's largest utility, Hawaii electric (HECO), to require additional solar interconnection studies on some circuits. For more information on locations where solar might take additional study, visit the HECO Locational Value Maps page or visit HECO’s website.

Hawaii has

KIUC - Solar Water Heating Loan Program


Through a partnership with Kauai Community Federal Credit Union (KCFCU) and Kauai County Housing Agency (KCHA), the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) provides qualifying members with zero-interest loans for solar water heating systems. The loan is available for installations of new systems, or to replace solar water heating systems that are over 15 years old and no longer work.  KCHA, with funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program, and KCFCU provide funding for the loans. KIUC pays the interest, markets the program and verifies that systems will meet Energy Wise

KIUC - Solar Water Heating Rebate Program


Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative's Commercial Energy Wise Program began in 1998. Participants will receive an energy use analysis and screening for the installation of cost-effective energy saving devices, including solar water heating systems. Customers are eligible for a flat $1,000 rebate for each solar water heating system installed.  The rebate is available for installations of new systems, or to replace solar water heating systems that are over 15 years old and no longer work.

Local Option - Special Improvement Districts


Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do

Priority Permit Processing for Green Buildings


Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §46-19.6 requires each county agency that issues building, construction, or development-related permits to establish a procedure for priority processing of permit applications for construction projects incorporating energy and environmental design building standards. The priority processing will be provided at no additional cost.

Buildings eligible for priority processing are those that meet the "energy and environmental design building standards". These standards can be achieved by earning either a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver

Residential Energy Disclosure


A residential property owner is required to disclose electricity costs for the most recent three-month period in which the property was occupied as a condition of selling it. No proof or copies of the electricity bills are required, but sellers must make a "good faith declaration."  Energy legislation (HB1464) added this requirement to Hawaii's existing Mandatory Seller Disclosures in Real Estate Transactions law in 2009.

Solar and Wind Energy Credit (Corporate)


Note: On January 2, 2014, Hawaii Revised Statue §235-12.5 regarding the taxation of renewable systems were adopted and became effective. An accompanying change in the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR 235-12.5) clarifies how virtual and aggregated net metered systems are to be taxed. “Other solar energy systems installed and “placed in service” from January 1, 2013 through January 1, 2014 must adhere to §18-235-12.01T to 06T, Temporary Administrative Rules. For more information and tax forms, visit the Hawaii Department of Taxation website.

Originally enacted in 1976, the Hawaii Energy Tax

Solar Contractor Licensing


Hawaii offers several specialty licenses for solar contractors through Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The following specialty licenses are available: Solar Power Systems Contractor (C-60); Solar Energy Systems Contractor (C-61); Solar Hot Water Systems Contractor (C-61a); and Solar Heating and Cooling Systems Contractor (C-61b). These licenses require business and trade exams plus four years of experience. An Electrical Contractor (C-13) license is required to install photovoltaic systems other than low voltage DC wiring and it includes the work of the C-60 solar power

Solar Rights


Hawaii law prohibits the creation of any covenant or restriction contained in any document restricting the installation or use of a solar energy system on a residential dwelling or townhouse. Furthermore, Hawaii requires homeowners associations to adopt rules that provide for the placement of solar energy systems and do not unreasonably restrict the placement. In July 2010, SB 2817 was enacted that clarified this requirement and required homeowners associations to pass rules by July 1, 2011 in accordance with this requirement. This legislation states that homeowners associations' rules and

Solar Water Heating Requirement for New Residential Construction


In June 2008, Hawaii enacted legislation, SB 644, with the intent to require solar water-heating (SWH) systems to be installed on all single-family new home construction, with a few exceptions. This legislation had several errors that were corrected by legislation passed during the 2009 legislative session. In June 2009, HB 1464 was signed by the governor and addressed the errors in the previous solar water heating requirement.

As of January 1, 2010, building permits may not be issued for new single-family homes that do not include a SWH system. The state energy resources coordinator may