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How Photovoltaic Systems Work
Individual solar cells, made of thin layers of silicon, are grouped together to form photovoltaic (PV) solar modules which, when installed as a component of a complete solar system, generate electricity.¹
When sunlight strikes the PV solar module cells installed on the roof of your home, a chemical reaction releases electrons that generate an electric current.
Photovoltaic solar electricity benefits:¹
- Lower your monthly electric bills
- Save money on your system purchase with State of Hawaii and federal tax credits
- Utilize free energy from the sun to reduce the effect of utility rate increases
- Enjoy energy independence by becoming your own power producer
- Protect the environment by using clean, renewable energy
- Lessen Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil²
For up-to-date information on federal, state, and local incentives, consult the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Solar Power and DER Programs Reduce Your Utility Bills
During 2014, average U.S. residential electricity prices increased at the highest rate since 2008.3 By generating your own electricity and taking advantage of grid supply and self supply programs on Oahu and Maui, you can hedge against future rate hikes and increase your utility savings. Distributed Energy Resources (DER) (Customer Grid-Supply or Customer Self-Supply) programs are the current rooftop PV programs in Hawaii as of 10/12/2015.
- Customer Grid Supply: Customers who take advantage of the grid supply program will send the extra energy produced by their PV panels to Hawaiian Electric in return for energy credits (15 cents per kilowatt-hour on Oahu and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour on Maui) on their electric bills over a 12-month period.²
- Customer Self Supply: Customers utilizing the self supply program can connect their rooftop PV panels to personal energy storage systems, such as the Home Energy Storage Site (HESS), to capture excess solar power for their home or business, and do not need to export excess energy to the grid.
The Net Energy Metering (NEM) program that was offered to previous PV customers is also under the DER program. Learn more about the recent changes to the rooftop solar market.
Alternate Energy has helped Hawaii residents offset their utility bills by approximately $118,000,000 annually. Read our customer success stories to learn more and see how much you can save.
Through partnerships with Central Pacific Bank and Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union, AEI is proud to offer competitive financing options for PV customers. For more information on these loans, visit our Financing Options page.
- Hawaii Tax Credits and Incentives
- Public Utilities Commission approves new rooftop solar programs, Hawaiian Electric
- Short-term Energy Outlook, U.S. Energy Information Association
¹ Based on California home with average home energy use of 7,000kWh/yr. Sources: Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration. National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWATTS 10 Californian cities' estimated AC energy production. OnGrid Solar.
² Hawaiian Electric
3 U.S. Energy Information Administration