The Zane Family
With all the solar energy providers out there, how do you decide which company to go with? And what's it really like to have a system installed for your home?
Here is one family's story.
Chris Zane, a network engineer, and his wife, a physical therapist, purchased their first home in Kaneohe in 2009. With two small daughters (now ages 6 and 4), fairly minimal use of air conditioning and no swimming pool, their electricity consumption was about average. Electric bills came in around $120 per month, sometimes as high as $150 per month. Rates continued to creep up with each bill, to the point where opening that envelope each month was becoming a little stressful.
After carefully researching his options and soliciting bids from three local companies (his advice to others: "Google is your friend!"), Chris chose Alternate Energy Inc. to install a hybrid system including a solar water heater and 12 PV panels.
"I knew it was crucial to get a solar water heater as part of my package, since an electric water heater accounts for around 40 percent of a family's power usage. AEI has been doing solar in Hawaii for decades," he said. "I was impressed with the fact that their installers aren't subcontractors but are actually employed by AEI, so I know the warranties for both the work and the materials are rock solid. I even went up on the roof with them when they did the install. They were careful, friendly, honest and fast. The job was done in about half a day!"
Best of all, when that electricity bill comes in the mail these days, it's actually fun to open...it's been as low as $18.