Sustainability Guide 2011 / Water heating costs can account for 30 to 40 percent of the average Hawaii residential electric bill in a non-air conditioned home. A solar water heating system harnesses the sun’s heat to generate 90 percent of the energy needed to heat the water, resulting in savings of about $10 to $15 per person, per month, on average.
For a limited time, Hawaii residents on Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island can earn rebates up to $1,750 when they replace their old electric water heaters with solar water heaters. The rebates are made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the State Energy Program (SEP) fund, and are available through May 31, 2011 or until the funds are exhausted.
The bonus rebates apply to all retrofit installations that are not already pre-approved by Hawaii Energy (a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program). Residents have two simple options for the offer:
Under Hawaii Energy’s “Hot Water, Cool Rates” program, Hawaii residents who finance a new solar water heating system to replace their old electric water heater through a Participating Lender will receive an instant bonus rebate of $750 for completing a simple questionnaire aimed at improving Hawaii Energy’s programs. The program offers select financial institutions a $1,000 incentive to buy-down the interest rate to 0 percent or a low rate for borrowers. This brings the total amount of assistance to $1,750.
Local residents choosing to replace their electric water heater with solar water heating system without “Hot Water, Cool Rates” financing can receive a limited-time bonus rebate of $750. This doubles the current $750 instant rebate to $1,500.
“We’re glad to be able to offer these bonus rebates to help residents take advantage of the benefits of solar water heating in these tough economic times,” says Ray Starling, Hawaii Energy program manager. “Solar water heating significantly reduces electricity usage and helps to lessen our state’s dependence on imported oil. It is a cornerstone of our clean energy efforts.”