According to a recent poll, more than 94 percent of Hawaii homeowners want more solar capacity on their rooftops. Rising energy rates have helped to fuel property owners’ desires to take control of their utility bills — making Hawaii a national solar energy bright spot.


But according to energy specialist Brian Fujikane, installing a photovoltaic system isn’t always the right first step to saving money on your energy bill. “If reducing your bill is your initial objective, then you first need to examine all of your energy appliances and fixtures and their usage before installing a photovoltaic system,” Fujikane suggested.

Fujikane recommended homeowners have their property first inspected by an energy specialist, to ensure the fastest return on investment.


“Before homeowners begin to think about installing photovoltaic solar, they need to take a closer look at dated appliances. An unmaintained water heater will inflate a utility bill by 30 percent or more. Left unad-dressed, it would lead to an oversized solar PV system,” Fujikane said.

Taking the steps to first replace older appliances with Energy Star rated ones, replace incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs and hire professionals to regularly maintain your water heater, will give you a better idea of your actual energy usage.


It is imperative that owners look at the major causes of a high utility bill. That’s why Kama’aina Solar Solutions’ energy specialists will always encourage a homeowner to retrofit where needed before sizing a system.

If a heat pump is going to reduce a substantial portion of the owners’ energy consumption, staff specialists will recommend installing a heat pump in combination with a smaller PV system. “It’s about the best solution, not the most expensive one,” project manager Lisa Funai said.

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