As director of Risource Energy, one of Hawaii’s best solar companies, John Yeh answers many questions from prospective customers about solar PV affordability.

“Homeowners have great questions that demand clear answers,” said Yeh. “We understand the importance of the affordability issue, and we take care to explain how truly affordable the investment is,” he continued.

Here are some frequently asked customer questions — and answers.


Q. How long before the electricity savings pay for our investment?

A. Many Hawaii residents know they pay extremely high electricity rates — about twice the New York rates, which are the second highest in the nation. Given that a well designed solar PV system can drastically reduce monthly rates (often to below $20 for an average single family home with four people), the significant monthly savings on electric bills often pay for the system in less than four years. Any future savings are just extra money for the household. With an estimated system lifetime around 25 years, that leaves many years of net electricity savings that can really add up.

Q. What about tax credits?

A. State and federal tax credits greatly reduce system cost. Back to our average single family home for a family of four: Typically, this house would require a 5 kW (kilowatt) system that currently qualifies for a 30 percent federal tax credit and a Hawaii state tax credit of 35 percent (both as a percentage of total system cost). These credits can reduce the homeowner’s net cost to about 30 percent of system cost.

Photo by Rachel Breit.

Q. What financing options are available?

A. To save on upfront costs, including a down payment, some homeowners would prefer to finance a home improvement such as this. Financing options include: (1) a home equity loan, (2) an unsecured loan from a local bank or credit union, or (3) leasing a system (also called a solar lease) from a solar company or other third party. “Leasing a system requires some explaining. Folks can call us. In a lease, a third party like a solar company or their financial partners own the PV system, and they get all the tax credits, rebates and incentives,” said Yeh.

Call Risource Energy to discuss questions or concerns. Customer service really is the company’s No. 1 priority. It also has exclusive Hawaii rights to CIS PV panels made in Japan, arguably the industry’s finest panels, delivering up to 14 percent more electricity.

contact // 843-8100
email //
web //