Top 5 Best Solar Companies in Hawaii (2023 Reviews)
In this guide to Hawaii’s best solar companies, we’ll answer your questions including:
- What are the best solar providers in Hawaii?
- How can Hawaii residents save money on their solar systems?
- Is DIY solar a better option than hiring a professional in Hawaii?
What Are Hawaii’s Top 5 Solar Energy Companies?
Hawaii is one of the best states in the country to convert to solar energy. Given solar’s popularity, there are over 50 installation companies that serve the Aloha State, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).1 That means you’ll have plenty of companies to choose from to handle your system installation.
While having choices is great, it may make your decision more difficult. Choosing the right company for your needs means spending a lot of time and energy researching installers to see what each one offers.
Below is our list of the top solar companies in Hawaii, specifically tailored for residents throughout the state.
- Rising Sun Solar: Solar Veteran
- RevoluSun Hawaii: Outstanding Regional Installer
- SunPower by Eco Solar: Outstanding Local Installer
- Malama Solar: Outstanding Regional Installer
- Independent Energy Hawaii: Outstanding Regional Installer
You can use the drop-down menus below to learn more about each company and help decide which is right for you.
Rising Sun Solar
Our main reason for choosing Rising Sun Solar is because of the local experience it has. Rising Sun Solar has been in business since 1986 and, since then, has sustained affordable prices, provided outstanding customer service and maintained industry affiliations, like those with the SEIA and the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).
Local experience is important, in our opinion, because solar is becoming wildly popular in Hawaii. The state went from 32nd in the country to 18th for solar adoption in a single year in 2021. When business is booming, you need to be wary of fly-by-night companies that pop up to capitalize on the demand. Choosing a company with decades of experience cuts through the noise and ensures proper installation.
Rising Sun Solar is one of Hawaii’s oldest and largest solar providers, serving over 5,000 customers on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu. A locally owned company, it provides a wide range of services, including custom designs, installation, and maintenance for solar panels, solar shingles and batteries.
It also offers a variety of the top solar brands, including Tesla and SunPower/Maxeon. Plus, all the products offered by Rising Sun are protected by a 25-year warranty, with installation labor covered under a five-year warranty.
The company only offers five years of warranty coverage on its workmanship, which is below the industry average of 10 years. However, we believe Rising Sun Solar’s experience and local expertise means a relatively low risk of issues stemming from improper installation.
Facts and Figures: Rising Sun Solar
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, Solar Roof Shingles, System Monitoring, Maintenance & Repairs|
We like RevoluSun Hawaii because of the wealth of services it offers. Not only does this company provide panel and battery installations, but it gets the big picture of solar by offering energy efficiency upgrades. Because of this, RevoluSun Hawaii is considered a full-service company for energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency upgrades include heating and air conditioning system installation and repair, solar hot water heater installations and more. These all help reduce the electricity costs in Hawaii, which are some of the highest in the nation.
This company only carries top-tier solar brands — like SunPower, Tesla Solar and Panasonic — but still makes residential solar accessible. It offers multiple financing options (such as cash, $0 loans or solar leasing) and claims to be Hawaii’s “only local lease provider.”
Additionally, this installer has outstanding warranty coverage, including 25-year product and production guarantees and a 20-year roof leak warranty. As an SEIA member and BBB-accredited business, you can trust that this provider is one of the most reputable solar contractors in Hawaii.
This company comes at a higher price than many competitors, but in our opinion, its expertise and outstanding warranty coverage are well worth the money.
Facts and Figures: RevoluSun Hawaii
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, HVAC Services, Energy-Efficiency Audits, System Monitoring|
SunPower by Eco Solar
We like SunPower as an option for Hawaii homeowners for a few reasons. First, SunPower manufactures some of the most efficient panels in the industry. This is great for Hawaii residents, who need to take maximum advantage of the available sun to offset the highest energy costs in the country.2
Hawaii also has the smallest homes in the nation, on average, which means fewer panels will fit on solar customers’ roofs.3 High-efficiency panels mean you can make better use of the roof square footage you do have.
All products are covered by a 25-year product and production warranty, while Eco Solar’s installation is covered under a five-year workmanship warranty. You can pay for the service with cash or a solar loan, or you can sign a lease or PPA with Eco Solar.
SunPower panels are more costly than most others on the market. However, we feel that they are definitely worth the added investment, especially in a place like Hawaii, where space is limited and electricity costs are high.
Facts and Figures: SunPower by Eco Solar
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, Energy-Efficiency Audits|
The word Mālama means “to take care,” and Malama Solar stays true to that name. The company has a solid reputation for customer care and a dedication to taking care of the planet through clean energy and solar solutions. Malama Solar started as a small, family-owned company in 2017 and quickly became one of the fastest-growing businesses in Hawaii.4
As mentioned before, countless solar providers have popped up in Hawaii to meet demand, but many installers are just in the industry for profit and provide less-than-ideal service. Despite Malama being a young company, it has established a reputation for excellent customer service.
Malama also provides a good range of solar products, many of which have above-average efficiency ratings. These include Panasonic, LG, Tesla Solar and Q Cells solar panels. These brands help Hawaii residents — who may have below-average home sizes — take better advantage of the space they have.
Malama currently only services Oahu and the Island of Hawaii, but it’s expanding to other areas soon. Additionally, the labor warranty only lasts for 10 years, but we still feel the expertise held by the installers — who are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) — makes this provider a great choice.
Facts and Figures: Malama Solar
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries|
Independent Energy Hawaii
Despite being just a few years old, we chose Independent Energy Hawaii because it employs highly trained and experienced installers. This company’s techs are NABCEP-certified and also hold affiliations and certifications with the SEIA and the ASES.
This company carries just a few solar panel brands, including Tesla. However, they are high-performance options that are great for Hawaii residents. Additionally, the company carries Generac PWRcell solar batteries and Tesla Powerwall solar batteries, so it can help you take advantage of Hawaii incentives for battery installations.
Unfortunately, this provider doesn’t include any warranty for its workmanship, although its products do come with a 25-year warranty for equipment. Still, we think this is a good option overall for reliable, affordable solar equipment.
Facts and Figures: Independent Energy Hawaii
|Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating|
|Average Cost ($-$$$$$)|
|Solar Panels, Solar Batteries, EV Chargers, Maintenance & Repairs, Removal & Reinstallation|
How to Save Money When Hiring a Solar Installer in Hawaii
Hawaii property owners have access to some of the most affordable solar panel systems in the country. Although the average per-watt solar price in Hawaii — $2.67 — is in line with the U.S. average, the typical system size a homeowner needs is just 5.5 kilowatts (kW). That puts the typical system cost before credits at $14,685, or closer to $10,280 after the federal tax credit is factored in.
Despite this total sitting well below the U.S. average of $23,940 — or $16,758 after the tax credit — Hawaii residents can still look for ways to save money on installation. Below is a list of things you can do to keep installation costs down.
- Take advantage of the wealth of benefit programs available in Hawaii
- Consider installing solar batteries
- Choose high-efficiency panels
Take Advantage of Hawaii Benefit Programs
The best thing you can do to reduce your upfront and long-term cost of converting to solar in Hawaii is to take advantage of the benefit programs available. These include tax credits, tax exemptions and rebate programs that lower the effective cost of solar equipment.
In the table below, we’ll include a list of the solar incentives available to Hawaii homeowners and a description of how each can save you money.
|Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)||This is a credit for 30% of your entire solar power system cost, which gets applied to your income tax liability. In Hawaii, the ITC averages out to $4,406, which is a massive benefit.|
|Solar and Wind Energy Credit||This is a state tax credit that provides an additional credit of 35% of your solar energy system value of up to $5,000 to your tax liability. If you can take this, that brings your total credit — including the ITC — up to nearly $10,000.|
|City of Honolulu Real Property Tax Exemption||Normally, when you install solar panels, your home value goes up, and your taxes follow.5 This exemption prevents your taxes from increasing, which saves you hundreds or thousands over the life of your system.|
|GEMS Hawaii||The Green Energy Money Saver (GEMS) program helps make solar accessible and affordable to low-income solar customers. It brings down upfront costs and lets you pay off the system via charges to your electricity bills.|
|GreenSun Hawaii||This is a financing program in Hawaii that helps keep solar accessible to more individuals. The program keeps interest rates and down payment requirements for solar loans as low as possible.|
|Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) Battery Bonus||This perk is a rebate over time for installing a solar battery with your panels. It provides cashback amounts of up to $850 per kW of battery storage installed.6 This is only available to customers of HECO.|
Consider Installing Solar Batteries
Hawaii residents can benefit greatly from installing solar batteries.
Not only can many Hawaii residents take advantage of the battery cashback program to keep costs down, but batteries can also offer an alternative to net metering. Net energy metering (NEM) is a billing policy mandated by many states that lets you overproduce energy with your panels and use the credits earned to pay down future electric bills.
Unfortunately, NEM is no longer mandated in Hawaii, so many utility companies don’t offer it. However, if you install a solar battery, you can store your excess energy for later use. This is especially useful in Hawaii, where energy rates are nearly triple the national average and the highest of any state in the country.7
In case that’s not enough to convince you, Hawaii experiences a high occurrence of power outages due to the demand on the aging electric grid. Solar batteries can help you maintain electricity even through blackout conditions.
Install a High-Efficiency Panel Brand
There are a wide variety of panel brands available for residential solar systems. One of the most significant differences between these brands is the efficiency rating, which tells you how much of the sunlight hitting the panel will be converted into electricity.
In Hawaii, it’s usually most cost-effective to install a high-efficiency solar panel brand, like Maxeon panels from SunPower. There are two reasons for this:
- Hawaii homes are some of the smallest in the country, which means roof space is naturally limited. High-efficiency panels allow you to get more energy production for the square footage you have available. While they might be more expensive upfront, they will usually pay for themselves over time.
- Hawaii residents pay more for energy than residents in any other state, with a cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of over 33 cents, and see the highest energy bills in the country.7 Panels with a high efficiency rating help offset utility bills, maximizing your savings over time and helping to pay back your system more quickly.
Will Solar Increase Your Home Value in Hawaii?
Yes! Fitting your home with PV panels is a great way to boost its value, as estimates from Zillow suggest that the typical solar system will raise your property value by around 4.1%.8 Given the average home value of $825,000, that’s an increase of $33,000.5
Some reports suggest that home values in Hawaii have gone up over 20% in the past few years, which means the impact solar has on your value is also growing.9 Larger cities like Oahu and Honolulu have seen the greatest growth rate of the return on investment (ROI) for solar, but other areas are also benefiting.
Below are some of the most costly cities in Hawaii, which naturally see the greatest ROI in terms of the boosted property value:
- Pearl City
Should Hawaii Residents Hire a Professional Solar Installer or DIY?
If you’ve done any research on DIY solar panel installations, the relatively low cost compared to professional installation has probably caught your attention. But DIY solar installations in Hawaii aren’t as appealing as they may seem.
Below are a few reasons why we recommend having a professional complete your solar installation, rather than doing it yourself.
- Professionally installed panels are more efficient.
- Sizing your system appropriately is crucial, given the high local energy costs.
- Some areas in Hawaii are exposed to roof leaks, which are more common with DIY installations.
Professional Panels Are Better Suited for Hawaii
We mentioned above that high-efficiency panels are best for use in Hawaii. This is because the average roof size in the Aloha State is smaller than in every other state, so the available space for PV panels can be limited.
Given that Hawaii residents also have the highest energy bills in the country, taking full advantage of the roof space you do have is essential for maximizing long-term solar savings. DIY panel brands almost always have a lower efficiency than professionally installed options, like Maxeon, Panasonic and Tesla, which can negatively impact the price.
While installing solar yourself will usually save you money upfront, you might end up with lower savings in the long run due to lower efficiency.
Getting the System Size Wrong Can Be Costly
Since the electricity in Hawaii is so expensive, it’s crucial the PV system on your home is sized appropriately for your energy needs. Failing to get the size right can lead to reduced energy savings, longer panel payback periods and other significant downsides.
Having a professional install your system will cost more than a DIY solar installation, but the technician will consider a variety of factors to get the system size right. These include:
- The direction your roof faces
- Where in Hawaii your home is located, as heavy cloud coverage is common on the windward sides of the mountains
- The size of your roof and the number of panels it can hold
- Your average monthly energy consumption
- And more
You’re much more likely to get a system size that isn’t suitable for your home if you install panels yourself, which could lead to reduced savings over time.
Roof Leaks Are More Common With DIY Solar Projects
Some areas in Hawaii experience rainfall that is well above average for the U.S.10 One of the most common issues solar customers experience is leaking where roof penetrations occur during panel installation.
While professional installers can often install panels in a way that minimizes this risk, you’re more likely to make a critical mistake if you install the panels yourself. Any error could lead to significant leaking and water damage, especially during Hawaii’s rainy seasons. Ultimately, the repair costs could outweigh the money you saved by doing a DIY installation in the first place.
Plus, professional companies often include workmanship warranties to cover issues that arise from an improper installation. This is something you won’t get if you do the work yourself.
What Should Hawaii Homeowners Look For in a Solar Installer?
There are a few things we recommend you look for in a solar installation company in Hawaii that will help ensure you have a positive experience and save the most money possible. We’ll list a few of the most important factors below and explain why each is so important.
- Efficient panel brands
- Solar services offered
- Years in business
Efficiency of the Panel Brands Offered
First, we recommend narrowing down solar installers by the panel brands they offer. Hawaii residents have the highest electricity rates and energy bills in the country. With the smallest average home sizes in the nation, many residents need to make sure the square footage of their roofs is used optimally.
In most cases, that means installing high-efficiency panel brands. These produce more energy per square foot, and while they might be more costly, they can also lead to greater savings in the long run. Brands like Maxeon, Panasonic, Tesla, Q-Cells, REC, Silfab, Canadian Solar and Trina Solar should all serve you well.
As mentioned above, we often recommend installing solar batteries in Hawaii. Since there is no statewide net energy metering policy, any excess energy your system generates will just go to your utility company with no benefit to you. Plus, you’ll still have to pay high electricity rates to pull energy from the grid when your panels aren’t producing, like at night or on especially cloudy days.
Installing a battery lets you make use of overproduction and is more likely to move your utility bills closer to $0 per month.
As such, we recommend choosing an installer that can tackle panels and batteries. Most companies in Hawaii do, but some only provide access to PV panels.
Years of Experience
Finally, we suggest looking for a company with at least five years of experience or more. Solar has increased in popularity in Hawaii over the last few years so more and more companies are popping up to keep up with demand.
Unfortunately, younger companies may be more likely to go out of business and void your warranties in the process. They also tend to have technicians with less experience, which can lead to issues with the installation in some cases.
Methodology: How We Ranked Hawaii’s Solar Installers
To rank the top solar providers in your area, we first assessed local, regional and national companies that are based in or operate in Hawaii. We looked at panel brands offered, services provided, overall cost, years of experience and more. Then, we weighted each of these factors based on which are the most important in Hawaii.
- Solar Services (20%)
- Qualifications, Reputation & Certifications (20%)
- Solar Warranty & Customer Support (15%)
- Solar Financing Options (15%)
- Experience (10%)
- Availability (10%)
- Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance Factors (10%)
Below, we’ll explain the factors that we believe are the most crucial for Hawaii residents to have a positive solar experience.
Our goal is to deliver unbiased reports and honest reviews, thus, our methodology is not affected by commercial partnerships and is specifically tailored to Hawaii homes.
Years of Local Experience
First, we looked at the age of each solar provider in Hawaii and ruled out most younger companies. Solar in Hawaii only recently began taking off, jumping from 32nd in the nation for adoption in 2021 to 18th in 2022. With the surge in demand, many companies opened their doors to capitalize.
Young solar companies can be just as good as experienced companies, but be careful of those only in the industry to make a profit. These installers are less likely to provide good customer service and are more likely to void your warranty if they shut down.
Plus, companies with many years of experience are more likely to be familiar with the local benefit programs available, including those offered by individual utility companies. Having an installer with that knowledge can save you money over time.
Equipment Brands and Services Offered
Next, we reviewed the equipment brands and breadth of services offered. We prioritize companies that carry panels with industry-leading efficiency ratings, like Maxeon. We then give precedence to high-efficiency options. These are the best option in Hawaii, where roof space is limited and offsetting high energy bills is crucial for maximizing savings.
It’s also important to consider the services offered by each company. Panels and batteries are a good option in Hawaii, so we prioritize companies that offer both. We also tend to give precedence to companies that provide other energy efficiency upgrades. This helps ensure you get a company that is looking to help both the environment and your wallet, and not just turn a profit.
Another crucial factor we consider is warranty coverage. In other states, it’s not uncommon to see 25-year coverage for equipment, workmanship and efficiency. In Hawaii, though, workmanship warranties tend to average around 10 years, which is less appealing.
We highlight companies that provide better warranty coverage whenever possible. Not only will the added protection provide you with peace of mind, but it can also save you money on necessary repairs, maintenance or replacements as your system ages.
Read More About Going Solar in Hawaii
FAQ: Best Solar Companies in Hawaii
Consumers trust the EcoWatch brand when it comes to solar companies, so we get a lot of questions about the best installers. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s difficult to say which solar provider will be the most affordable because solar installation costs can vary based on your household. EcoWatch recommends getting consultations and free quotes from multiple companies to compare installation and solar panel costs. You should also compare the financing options we’ve listed for each company above and compare them to your own needs.
Also, don’t forget to ask each installer what solar perks may be available to you. Any homeowner who installs solar panels in Hawaii is eligible for a federal tax credit (also called the solar investment tax credit), as well as state tax credits like the Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit (RETITC). Hawaii also offers the Green Energy Money Saver On-Bill Program (GEM$) which makes alternate energy systems more affordable to low-income homeowners and renters. The Hawaiian Electric Company also offers a top-notch net energy metering program.
Rising Sun Solar was founded in 1986, and although it didn’t install its first solar PV system until 2003, it’s still one of the most experienced solar installation companies in Hawaii.
According to the SEIA, there are 93 solar companies in Hawaii, including 66 that install solar panels.11
In our opinion, the solar equipment and services offered by a company are the most important factors to consider. High-efficiency panels will usually save you far more on your energy bills over time.
Plus, companies that install batteries are preferred because having an energy storage solution means you can effectively enjoy net metering, even though it’s not a mandated policy in Hawaii.
Some readers may be surprised to see our rankings don’t include more popular brands, like Vivint Solar. We intentionally chose to leave some companies out based on poor customer service specifically in Hawaii, ongoing lawsuits with customers or other risk factors.
Comparing authorized solar partners
- Many years of experience
- Competitive pricing
- Locally owned and operated
- Relatively short workmanship warranty
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