Hawaii Energy Increases Rebate for Solar Water Heaters

Posted March 12, 2013


NOTE: As of September 7, 2015, the Hawaii Energy rebate has reverted to $750. 


Hawaii Energy has increased its instant rebate on new, qualifying solar water heating systems from $750 to $1,000. Residents should act soon, as this rebate is only for a limited time.

“If residents haven’t already done so, now is the time to take advantage of our increased rebate for solar water heating systems,” said H. Ray Starling, Hawaii Energy Program Director. “Take the first step towards big energy savings with the installation of a system today. Don’t put it off until next year, or wait for that old energy-guzzling electric water heater to fail, because rebates, as well as state and federal tax credits are subject to change.”

A typical home's largest energy consumer is the electric water heater if the household doesn't have air conditioning or a swimming pool. When a household of four or more switches to a solar water heater, they can save up to 40 percent – about $600 a year – on their electric bill. Hawaii Energy’s $1,000 instant rebate, combined with applicable state and federal tax credits, reduce the cost of the average solar water heating system from approximately $6,600 to about $2,000. (Note: Tax credits are subject to change. The average system cost for existing home retrofits is $6,600. Actual cost may vary as different household needs require different system sizes. Contractor installation costs may also vary.)

“Hot Water, Cool Rates” Offer

For residents that would like to avoid upfront expenses, Hawaii Energy offers an interest buy-down option called “Hot Water, Cool Rates.” Available in lieu of the instant rebate and through participating lenders, Hawaii Energy provides a $1,000 to the lender to buy down the interest on a qualifying solar water heating loan. The lender then provides a zero to low interest loan depending on the applicant’s credit and other factors determined by the lender. Residents can choose from a list of local banks and credit unions.

“With the average cost of a solar water heater approaching $7,000, many homeowners may seek financing to pay for their systems,” added Starling. “Hawaii Energy’s Hot Water, Cool Rates option makes it possible for more Hawaii residents to afford these great energy-saving systems.”

Heat Pump Rebate

As an alternative, Hawaii Energy also offers a $200 rebate for heat pump water heaters. For households of three or less, Hawaii Energy recommends installing a heat pump rather than a solar water heater since households of this size tend to use less hot water.

Choose a Participating Contractor

For both the instant $1,000 rebate and “Hot Water, Cool Rates” offer, residents choose from a list of participating contractors, which are pre-qualified by Hawaii Energy. The contractors abide by strict standards. Contractor home visits include: (1) analysis of hot water usage, (2) calculation of anticipated energy savings, (3) a bid or cost estimate for a complete installation and (4) instant deduction of the Hawaii Energy $1,000 rebate from the installation cost of the system. Hawaii Energy’s free 100-point inspection after installation helps to ensure that the system is installed to rigorous standards and specifications.

For more information on these and other Hawaii Energy offers, visit Solar Water Heating or call 537-5577 (Oahu) or toll-free 1-877-231-8222.