By Mj Thiel

According to a recent poll, over 94% of Hawaii homeowners want more solar capacity on Hawaii rooftops. Rising energy rates have helped to fuel property owners desire 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 solar system isn't always the right first step to save money on your energy bill.

"If reducing your energy 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 suggests.

Fujikane recommends homeowners have their property first inspected by an energy specialist who combs through all of the energy variables to ensure the fastest return on investment.

"Before homeowners begin to think about installing solar PV system, 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 unaddressed, 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 light bulbs with incandescent 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 our Kama'aina 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 their energy consumption, our 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.

Learn More about how you can save money on your Hawaii utility bill.