Cost of solar panels in Hawaii

How much is it to go solar in 2023?

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
Written by
Author picture
Edited by
solar panels on top of the roof of a house with a pool and palm trees

The average cost to install residential solar panels is $14,686 in Hawaii. After factoring in the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), the upfront cost drops to $10,280.

Going solar in the Aloha State is about 38% cheaper than the national average. While the out-of-pocket investment is lower than in other states, prices vary depending on the size of your system and how many incentives, rebates and tax breaks you take advantage of.

Key insights

  • The average cost per watt is $2.67.
  • If you pay cash, the average payback period is 6 years.
  • Over 25 years, estimated average net savings equal $49,459.

How much do solar panels cost in Hawaii?

Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or more, though individual costs vary significantly. On the high end, Nychelle in Waianae installed a $87,000 solar panel system, and Douglas in Hanalei spent $100,000 on a large system last year.

It’s a big upfront financial commitment. Luckily, Hawaii residents get one of the best returns on their solar investments in the country. Estimated net savings average $49,459 over 25 years, which is more than double the national average.

Most systems in Hawaii are around 5.5 kilowatts (kW). The system size you need depends on how much electricity you use and how much sun your home gets every day. For example, if your home is in the shadow of a mountain or volcano, you need a bigger system to catch more light to turn into electricity.

You may notice that the cost per watt is often listed as you look for a solar system. This is calculated by taking the total cost of the particular system and dividing it by the system’s total capacity, which is measured in watts.

Average cost by system size in Hawaii

3 kW4 kW5 kW6 kW7 kW8 kW9 kW
After federal tax credits $5,607 $7,476 $9,345 $11,214 $13,083 $14,952 $16,821
Before federal tax credits $8,010 $10,680 $13,350 $16,020 $18,690 $21,360 $24,030
Approximate house size in square feet 600 800 1,000 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,800
Source: EcoWatch

Are solar panels worth it in Hawaii?

“We have one of the highest electrical rates in the nation. Besides saving $400 to $500 a month on our electricity bills, it feels so good to know my house is powered by the sun,” James in Haleiwa said.

Similarly, Wendy in Kapolei told us her electric bills were averaging $700 per month before: “Since we switched to solar, it has gone down. We're averaging $200 a month now.”

Audra in Honolulu emphasized helping “reduce greenhouse gasses that's leading to global warming … I've lived in that house for over 35 years and I can see how the climate has changed since the summer months have become much hotter.”

Hawaii has an average of 5.5 to 6.5 peak sunlight hours a day.

Others say solar is worth it in Hawaii for more energy independence.

“For my property in the jungle of Maui, we lose power often, and having the addition of the Tesla Powerwall is a bonus,” Jose in Haiku told us. “The flawless transition of power grid to Tesla battery is a relief to never worry about electricity again.”

If you plan on using batteries to draw as little power from the grid as possible, however, be sure to talk to your installer about your usage and how much power storage you need — now and in the future.

“My only disappointment is that we did two Tesla battery wall packs, and I wish I would have done three,” Micheal in Kailua-Kona said. “We designed it for 150% of our existing usage. But we're just finishing up a pool project and we're gonna have a heater on that.

They continued: “We can run the heat when the sun's out and the two batteries most of the time will carry us through the night. But when it's cloudy and the batteries don't get charged 100%, we're having to pull from the grid.”

» MORE: How do solar panels work?

Cost factors of going solar in Hawaii

Several factors can affect the cost of your home’s new solar system. These include equipment costs, the efficiency of the panels you choose, labor costs and permit fees. You may also need to factor in the cost of a new roof.

Equipment costs

Bigger systems cost you more upfront. The size you need varies based on your home's energy use. Solar panel efficiency also factors into how many panels you need. More efficient panels make more power, so you’ll need fewer panels, saving you money.

» COMPARE: Most efficient solar panels

Some people try to offset just a portion of their electricity bill with solar. Others aim for total energy independence. Going totally off the grid will require more panels than a home that's just supplementing their energy.

  • Solar batteries: Cutting the cord with your electric company also means you’ll need to buy solar batteries to store any excess energy for cloudy days or nighttime. Batteries can cost $7,000 or more each.
  • Solar inverter: Besides panels and batteries, you’ll also need a solar inverter to turn the power from the panels into usable power for your home. These cost from $1,000 to $3,000, but the cost may be folded into the price of your system if you go with a solar company.
  • Monitoring system: You may also want to purchase a solar monitoring system. Monitoring systems help you track how much energy your system produces and if there are any problems. These can cost $80 to $400.

» LEARN: What is a solar array?

Labor and permit costs

You’ll also need to factor in labor and permit costs if they aren’t included in your installation contract. Many solar installation companies add these costs to the overall fee for a system. Be sure to check your contract to be sure.

» GUIDE: Solar panel installation guide

Solar panels typically last 25 years.

Condition of your roof

On average, quality solar panels should last 25 to 30 years. If your roof is at the end of its life, that may mean you should replace it before getting solar. If you don’t, you may face the added cost of removing the solar panels so your roof can be replaced later.

Other cost factors

Solar panels require minimal maintenance, like regular cleaning. Factor in the cost of hiring a professional to clean and inspect your solar system for damage that may be caused by storms or overhanging tree branches.

Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Hawaii

The federal solar investment tax credit is the best way to cut the cost of going solar in Hawaii. If you get your residential solar panel system up and running by the end of 2032, you can shave off a whole 30% of the total cost from your federal taxes.

The average ITC value in Hawaii is $4,406 in 2023.

That includes everything from the equipment and labor to permit fees. The credit drops to 26% in 2033 and then to 22% in 2034. So, if you're thinking about going solar, now's the time to jump in.

Hawaii also offers tax credits, loan programs and rebates that can save you a lot on solar. For example, some residents can get a property tax exemption. Rebates on solar water heaters and heating are also available.

» EXPLORE:Hawaii solar incentives

Compare solar installation companies in Hawaii

Compare popular solar companies available in Hawaii below. Read our guide to finding the best solar companies for more.

» TIPS: How to get the best solar quotes


Choose what information you want to see across each brand. At least one option must be selected.

Find a Solar Energy partner near you.


    How are solar costs trending in Hawaii?

    The cost to go solar in Hawaii has fallen 43% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

    How can I pay for solar panels?

    Some people pay cash for their solar panels, while others finance solar panels through a solar loan. Like other loans, you pay off a solar loan over time along with interest. Another way to pay for solar panels is by getting a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement).

    » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

    How much can I save with solar panels?

    When you pay cash, the average 25-year savings with solar is $49,459 in Hawaii. While you may not use solar to replace all of your home’s electricity, adding solar panels can save you a lot since Hawaii has the highest electric prices in the country at 30.55 cents per kilowatt-hour.

    How does net metering work in Hawaii?

    Net metering is when a solar energy system generates more electricity than a home consumes, and the surplus energy is fed back into the electrical grid. In return, homeowners receive a credit for the excess power supplied on their utility bills.

    A specialized program known as Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) has been established in Hawaii for residents who want to take part in net metering. This program lets homeowners sell their surplus solar energy back to the electrical grid at a predetermined rate. The rate per kilowatt-hour is contingent on which island you live on.

    How many solar panels do I need for my house?

    The number of solar panels you need depends on how much electricity your household uses. In Hawaii, the average monthly energy consumption is 531 kilowatt-hours. It would take about 15 panels to generate this much energy in a month if you have a 4-kW system.

    Will my solar panels work on cloudy days?

    Solar panels still work on cloudy days, but the capacity is reduced by around 20%. Direct sunlight definitely boosts energy output.

    Can I get free solar panels in Hawaii?

    No, there are no programs for free solar in Hawaii. You can lease or enter a PPA with little to no upfront costs, though.

    » FREE SOLAR PANELS: Are they really free?

    Bottom line

    Hawaii has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, so solar can be a good long-term investment. Going solar in Hawaii is less expensive than in other states, but there are some factors that can change the cost, including the size and quality of the solar panel system, installation charges and permits.

    On the bright side, you may qualify for special loan programs in Hawaii. Plus, tax incentives like the federal solar investment tax credit can slash costs significantly, and programs like Customer Grid-Supply let you sell back excess power to the grid to lower your costs.

    » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

    Solar costs: Hawaii vs. other states 

    Average cost per wattTypical system sizeUpfront cost*ITC value (30%)Payback period**Estimated net savings
    Hawaii $2.67 5.5 kW $14,686 $4,406 6 years $49,459
    California $2.73 4.5 kW $16,380 $4,914 8 years $30,000
    Arizona $2.61 11.5 kW $30,015 $9,004 12 years $23,891
    Nevada $2.52 10 kW $25,200 $7,560 12 years $18,319
    New Mexico $2.68 7 kW $18,760 $5,628 12 years $15,413
    *Before ITC federal tax credit; **When you pay cash

    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. EcoWatch, “ How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Hawaii? (2023 Savings Guide) .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    2. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “ Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    3. Solar Energy Industries Association, “ Solar State By State .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    4. Solar Energy Industries Association, “ Hawaii Solar .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    5. DSIRE, “ Hawaii Solar Programs .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    6. U.S. Department of Energy, “ Estimating the Cost and Energy Efficiency of a Solar Water Heater .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    7. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “ 2021 Average Monthly Bill- Residential .” Accessed Aug. 29, 2023.
    Did you find this article helpful? |
    Share this article