Best Solar Companies in Hawaii

We compared 31 brands and chose the top solar energy companies

    • Customer service
      SunPower
      3.6(2,279)
    • Competitive pricing
      LA Solar Group
      4.0(14)
    • Solar leases
      Sunrun
      4.2(2,894)

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      Best Solar Companies in Hawaii

      If you've been thinking about going solar in Hawaii but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. ConsumerAffairs is here to help you compare your options and get the best deal.

      Our research team compared popular solar companies on ratings and reviews, equipment options, warranties, availability and other factors to select the top picks for this guide. Read the full methodology below for full details on how we make recommendations.

      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,476,910 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
      • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
      • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
      • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

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      The 3 best solar companies, reviewed

      Our picks may be Authorized Partners that compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

      Our top solar company picks

      1. SunPower: Helpful customer service
      2. LA Solar Group: Reasonable costs
      3. Sunrun: Great leasing option

      SunPower

      Buyer's Choice Award Winner
      Max. panel efficiency
      22.8%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      1985
      2x Award Winner
      Selected for having one of the highest satisfaction rates for Best Customer Service and Best for Installation

      SunPower has an excellent reputation from an equipment standpoint and gets overall great reviews. Installers uses Maxeon panels — known for reliability, efficiency and durability — and the SunVault storage battery is designed to maximize energy savings.

      One customer, Kenneth in Honolulu, especially liked the battery options. “I'm thankful that I got the battery type, where I didn't have to get so many solar panels. It works very well and my bill is getting way down,” he told us.

      But what really sets SunPower apart is its seamless solar panel installation process. Reps are friendly and professional and answer all questions, according to Jennifer in Volcano.

      Another verified customer, Laurie in Honolulu, did a lot of research before making a decision. “SunPower had the best panels, technically, and a great track record backed by a very good warranty,” she told us. Laurie also recommends SunPower to other customers because “they made the entire process so easy!

      SunPower specializes in professional solar panel installations on residential properties. The company has a broad dealer network, and certified installers handle all Hawaii jobs. However, dealers may provide different levels of service nationwide.

      • 35-plus years of experience
      • Comprehensive 25-year warranty
      • Battery storage options
      • Energy monitoring services
      • Leasing and financing

      SunPower has occasional communication challenges. A lot is decided over email. So, if direct, in-person conversation is important to you, consider working with a smaller operation or hiring locally.

      Incidentally, it might be difficult to get in touch after the installation is complete. Todd in Aiea had an issue with his system last year. He told us he ended up working with a local solar contractor to work through the repair.

      It’s also not always the cheapest option. If you’re on a tight budget, we suggest comparing SunPower to a few other installers.

      SunPower’s “Complete Confidence Warranty” covers your entire solar energy system for 25 years, including the panels, inverter, racking and monitoring. The company repairs or replaces equipment at no cost to you (including labor and shipping).

      Most SunPower customers seem to finance their systems through a solar loan. You can also lease or pay in full upfront.

      • Loans: Qualified customers can find reasonable rates with no money down. All financing approvals and processing happen through the mySunPower online portal.
      • Leases: Customers pay a monthly fee to use solar panels that SunPower owns. SunPower reimburses you if your solar system doesn’t perform as guaranteed. You can transfer the agreement to a new buyer if you sell your home.

      Pros

      • Great professional installation services
      • Highly efficient equipment
      • Comprehensive transferable warranty
      • Variety of payment options

      Cons

      • Dealers may provide different levels of service
      • Some installation delays
      Our pick for customer service
      Max. panel efficiency
      Varies
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease, PPA
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2010

      LA Solar gets consistently positive reviews from verified customers. Most would recommend the company based on its competitive pricing and overall good service. It also stands for its 25-year performance guarantee and 25-year roof leak warranty.

      Others tell us about prompt customer service, a smooth installation process and lower monthly bills after the panels are installed. People also like the ability to monitor solar output via an app. It has four monitoring system options: Enphase, SolaEdge, Hoymiles and Tesla.

      LA Solar Group specializes in residential, commercial and government solar panel installations. It’s an authorized Tesla installer, so it has high-performance solar panels with a sleek, black-on-black design. The company is based in San Fernando, California, and currently services California, Hawaii, Texas and Hawaii.

      • Solar panel installation
      • Solar carport installations
      • EV charging
      • Battery installation
      • Roofing services
      • Service and maintenance

      We’ve heard some relatively minor complaints related to installation delays or communication issues and billing problems. Solar panel installations are complicated projects, and there’s always the chance of mix-ups or misunderstandings. For instance, a supply chain dilemma can easily delay your initial agreed-upon timeline.

      LA Solar installations come with coverage for equipment, labor and roof leaks.

      • Equipment: Solar panels, racking, inverters and other components are warrantied against defects for 25 years.
      • Labor: Repairs or replacements to fix defects, damages and production issues are free for 25 years.
      • Roof: Repairs for any roof leaks caused by the system are covered for 25 years.
      • Performance: Panels are guaranteed to produce according to their stated specifications (including degradation rate) for 25 years.

      LA Solar Group partners with several lenders and institutions to offer a range of financing and leasing options.

      • Solar loan: LA Solar’s partner network includes Mosaic, Sunlight Financial, Sungage Financial, Matadors Community Credit Union, Admirals Bank, EnerBank, GreenSky, Energy Loan Network, HERO, RENEW Financial and Ygrene.
      • Lease or PPA: Instead of owning your solar system, you agree to purchase the power it generates for a set rate over a period of time.

      Pros

      • Good customer reviews
      • Solid warranty and performance guarantee
      • Roofing, EV charging and other services available

      Cons

      • No in-house financing
      • Some installation delays
      Our pick for solar leases

      Sunrun

      Max. panel efficiency
      22%
      Payment options
      Cash, loan, lease
      Warranty
      25 years
      Year founded
      2007

      Sunrun's leasing program is a good way to get solar panels without the huge upfront investment. You don't have to pay for the solar equipment, installation, permitting or financing costs. Sunrun technically owns the system, and you pay a fixed monthly fee. Lease agreements typically last 25 years.

      The other big advantage of leasing through Sunrun is that you’re not responsible for any maintenance, according to Lisa in Kaneohe. “And that's one less headache on my shoulders,” she said.

      Another Hawaii resident, Helen, hired Sunrun installers based in Maui. “They were so pleasant. Everything about the experience was wonderful,” she told us. “My electric bill is nonexistent compared to what it was.”

      The installation crew is phenomenal and respectful of property, according to Michael in Kailua-Kona. “They got it done when they were supposed to,” he told us. “They worked hard and were very relatable.” Since going solar, Michael’s energy bills went from $350 to $30 or $40 each month.

      Sunrun sells and leases customized residential solar energy systems and its battery storage service in 20 states and two U.S. territories. Its solar advisors use proprietary design technology to analyze your home and energy needs. Once you and Sunrun finalize the design, Sunrun submits all necessary paperwork for approval from your local government.

      • Professional solar panel installation
      • Support for new home builders
      • Solar storage battery options
      • EV charging solutions

      Sunrun customers are generally satisfied, but some have told us it's hard to get in touch with customer service if there's a problem after the installation is complete. Dale in Waikoloa said “they just keep ignoring me thinking I will just go away” when he had problems with the app and inverter, and it took seven months to repair.

      You also might not be able to expand your system after the installation is complete. For example, Michael in Kailua-Kona got a heated pool after going solar, which increased how much energy he needed each month. “Sunrun told me that I can't add another battery with the way the current law stands, which is so frustrating to me,” he told us.

      Helen on Molokai had a similar experience: “I tried to call Sunrun regarding a battery backup, but they said, ‘Well, you can't because you selected what you selected, and there are no options for changes.’ So, that is disappointing.”

      Sunrun has warranty coverage, system maintenance and a performance guarantee. Compared with SunPower, Sunrun’s warranty appears to more strictly limit its liability. However, that’s less relevant if you lease a system. Sunrun maintains ownership of leased systems, and so you don’t have to worry about paying for any repairs or maintenance.

      The warranty covers workmanship and equipment for 10 years. The performance guarantee lasts 25 years. Leased systems typically come with free maintenance and repairs. It also has a 95% system performance guarantee.

      As of publishing, available discounts include $0 down for some financing plans. You can lease solar equipment for a minimal upfront payment. Sunrun’s leasing plans are what really sets it apart from other solar options in Hawaii:

      • Monthly plan: You can lease Sunrun panels for $0 or little down. Then, you pay a fixed monthly payment for the term of your leasing contract, typically 25 years.
      • Full amount lease: You can prepay for up to 25 years of solar energy.

      Pros

      • Easy enrollment process
      • Flexible payment options
      • Daily system monitoring
      • Warranty with complete coverage
      • Physical locations in Hawaii

      Cons

      • Limited price transparency
      • Some communication issues

      Hawaii solar panel buyers guide

      Our team has talked to thousands of solar customers across the country — here’s what to expect and what to look out for when buying solar panels in Hawaii.

      Key insights

      • In Hawaii, a typical 6-kilowatt residential solar panel system is $15,996 before any financial incentives. That price drops to $11,197 after considering the full federal solar investment tax credit.
      • The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the most significant financial incentive for buying solar panels in Hawaii. You can also lease a system with little upfront cost, but you aren't eligible for the ITC.
      • Many solar customers are happy with the service, installation and cost savings. Others felt misled by pushy sales tactics and ended up with monthly bills higher than expected. The state is taking steps to protect solar customers against unscrupulous sales pitches in the residential rooftop solar industry.

      Going solar in Hawaii

      High retail electricity rates are a big reason Hawaii is such a good place for rooftop solar installations. The potential savings more than make up for the state’s limits on net metering compensation. Plus, statewide solar adoption rates have kept installation costs relatively low.

      » BEST STATES FOR SOLAR: Hawaii ranks first

      What to look for in a solar company in Hawaii

      Solar panels last a long time — you want to hire a well-established company that will still be around for system support for at least 25 years. In our experience, the best solar energy companies have a few things in common:

      • A good reputation: Research the company's track record and read reviews. Look out for red flags: Recurring complaints about misleading sales tactics, equipment failures, billing issues and lack of communication are common themes in negative solar company reviews.
      • Local experience: Companies with extensive experience installing solar panels in Hawaii are better at navigating regional incentive programs, permit processes, utility policies and designing systems to maximize energy production given Hawaii’s weather patterns.
      • Free consultation: Get multiple quotes from different solar companies to compare prices and services. Be cautious of companies that provide significantly lower quotes than others — this may indicate lower quality.
      • Complete services: The best solar companies provide end-to-end services, from system design and engineering to permitting, installation, inspection, monitoring and maintenance. Also consider if you want a solar storage battery, electric vehicle (EV) charger or critter guard.
      • Transparent terms: The contract should be easy to understand. If anything about payment schedules, warranties, monitoring services or system maintenance doesn’t make sense — ask for clarification. Warranties and productivity guarantees provide peace of mind once your system is up and running.
      • Industry credentials: Legitimate solar companies have proper licensing, insurance and NABCEP certification for installers. Bonding is also important as it protects you if the contractor fails to meet certain financial obligations, like paying for permits or subcontractors.

      » TIPS: Get the best solar quotes

      How much do solar panels cost in Hawaii?

      Hawaii solar panel costs typically range between $9,772 to $25,580. The size of your solar panel system is a big factor in your total cost. It also depends on what incentives you’re eligible for, the condition of your roof and how much sunlight exposure it gets.

      On the high end, Nychelle in Waianae spent $87,000 on their system, and Douglas in Hanalei installed a $100,000 system in Kauai last year.

      A typical Hawaii household needs a system with a capacity of 7.96 kW to offset enough energy costs to make solar viable. Depending on your household energy usage, you might need a smaller or larger system.

      Average solar panel cost by system size in Hawaii

      Not surprisingly, systems that produce more power typically cost more. This doesn’t include the cost of a solar storage battery — which sometimes costs as much as the panels. Solar batteries are a must if you want real energy independence and essential if you go off-grid. Permitting, utility fees and maintenance also add to the cost of going solar.

      How can I pay for solar panel installation?

      Getting solar panels is like buying a car. If you can, it’s often strategic to pay for the whole thing upfront. You own the system from day one and receive the benefits of available tax credits — plus you don’t have to pay interest on a loan. But that’s not always an option.

      If you finance, a solar loan works like most other types of loans but tends to have lower interest rates because the loan is secured by solar panels. You can also lease a solar panel system. However, leased systems aren’t eligible for the federal solar tax credit since you don't actually own the equipment. Similar to leasing, Hawaii residents can also enter a power purchase agreement (PPA) without high upfront costs.

      Solar panels are designed to last 25-30 years.

      Some solar companies suggest using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance a solar installation. This can be a financially beneficial option — home equity interest rates are relatively low, and it lets homeowners take advantage of the federal solar tax credit.

      » SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy

      What solar panel incentives are available in Hawaii?

      The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Hawaii. The ITC credits 30% of the system’s total cost — including equipment, labor and permits — toward what you owe on federal income taxes.

      Don’t get confused: The ITC is not a rebate or a refund. It is a credit that goes toward what you owe on federal income taxes. It can only offset the taxes you owe, and any unused portion rolls into future tax years.

      The ITC drops to 26% in 2033 and then to 22% in 2034.

      For example, if you spend $10,000 installing a solar panel system, then the ITC is worth $3,000. If you owe $15,000 in taxes, then the credit reduces what you owe to $12,000. It only offsets your tax liability; you can't take advantage of the ITC if you don’t owe taxes in the first place.

      In addition to the federal incentive, Hawaii has subsidized loan programs, property tax exemptions and more to make it easier for some residents to go solar.

      • The Honolulu Solar Loan Program offers zero-interest loans to qualified homeowners to buy photovoltaic (PV panel) power systems and solar water heating. Funding comes from the city’s Rehabilitation Loan Program. The program is intended for low- to moderate-income homeowners living onsite. A mortgage lien will be secured on the property for loans exceeding $10,000.
      • Honolulu City Council Bill 58 has a property tax exemption for clean energy improvements made on real property. Clean energy improvements are exempt from property taxes for a period of 25 years. Eligible technologies include solar water and pool heating, solar thermal electric and solar photovoltaics.

      » MORE: Hawaii solar incentives

      Are solar panels worth it in Hawaii?

      The general consensus is that solar panels make sense in Hawaii. “Going solar is a no-brainer as an investment,” according to Jose in Haiku “You get a huge tax break and save big bucks over time,” he told us. Over 25 years, Hawaii homeowners with solar panels avoid $64,565 in utility costs on average.

      The downsides: limits on who is eligible for net metering and lower compensation rates for feeding back into the grid in 2024. Nevertheless, state and federal incentives make it worthwhile for many homeowners.

      Hawaii has the nation’s highest rate of existing rooftop solar capacity — much more California, which has the second-highest rate. Your potential long-term savings more than make up for the state’s limits on net metering eligibility and relatively low compensation rates for excess power generation.

      For many homeowners, solar installation costs are worth it for the reduction in energy bills and reliance on local power companies. A typical residential solar panel installation usually pays for itself within seven years in Hawaii. Over 25 years, Hawaii homeowners with solar panels can save about $64,565 in total utility power costs. Plus, it feels good to proactively reduce your carbon footprint.

      Going solar is a no-brainer as an investment.”
      — Jose in Haiku

      Your current electric bill is the starting point for assessing the financial benefits of transitioning to solar energy. Getting a loan to pay for solar panel installation makes sense as long as your loan payment is cheaper than what you’d be paying for electricity anyway. Then, once the loan is paid off, you essentially get “free” electricity.

      Ultimately, going solar is worth it in most states, but particularly in Hawaii. The state averages 5.5 to 6.5 peak hours of sunlight per day, maximizing the amount of power produced by your solar energy system.

      » STILL NOT SURE? Solar energy pros and cons

      FAQ

      How do I know if my house is a good candidate for solar?

      Ideal candidates have a south-facing roof with little to no shade and are in areas with high solar irradiation. It's also essential to assess the structural condition of your roof to ensure it can support the weight of solar panels.

      NREL’s PVWatts Calculator estimates how much electricity a solar panel can produce over a year on your house — just type in your address. You can also use Project Sunroof, a free solar savings estimator powered by Google Earth imagery.

      How long does it take to install solar panels in Hawaii?

      Installation times vary quite a bit by seasonality, but it generally takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to get everything up and running. According to Chris in Oahu, a roof inspection was scheduled within a month after first talking with a sales rep. Then, it took another month to actually complete the installation.

      “When they installed it, I was waiting for the electric company to put in their meters and verify everything,” Chris told us. “It had to go through the state, had to verify that it was okay. And then the power company had to verify that it would work on the grid without causing interruptions. And then they had to eventually change the meter out. We started in February, and it was on by the first week of July.”

      However, some customers have experienced delays in the installation process, with wait times up to a year.

      Is my HOA allowed to restrict solar panels?

      No. State law in Hawaii prohibits homeowners associations from outright denying installation of solar panels. Each HOA must have rules and specifications allowing the placement and installation of solar panels.

      Do I need any permits to install solar panels on my house?

      Yes. All renewable projects in Hawaii require permits. You can use the state government’s Renewable Energy Permitting Wizard to find permitting requirements for your project. The Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism also maintains a list of common solar permit regulations.

      Do I really need a solar battery?

      A solar battery system protects against fluctuating energy costs and policy changes while maximizing the benefits of your solar panels. As regulations change, batteries can insulate you from unfavorable policies and offer opportunities for future financial benefits, like participating in demand response programs or selling stored energy to the local grid.

      Solar batteries are also a must if you want real energy independence and essential if you go off-grid.

      Is it cheaper if I install solar panels myself?

      It’s potentially cheaper to install solar panels yourself. It’s also tricky and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, especially for a large residential project.

      » DIY solar panels: Pros and cons

      What is the difference between a solar installer and a solar broker?

      A broker can be helpful if you value convenience. If you want more control and potentially lower costs, it's best to work directly with a solar installer.

      • Broker: A solar broker is a middleman or intermediary who helps connect homeowners with solar installation companies. It typically has relationships with various installers and can help you compare options. Often, people selling solar panels door-to-door work for solar brokers.
      • Installer: A solar installer specializes in the design, procurement and installation of solar panels and related components. It typically has its own team of trained technicians who handle the installation process.

      Methodology: How we picked the best solar companies in Hawaii

      The ConsumerAffairs Research Team objectively evaluates solar providers to highlight those best equipped to meet most homeowners' needs. To choose our top picks for this guide, we started with popular providers. First, we narrowed it down to the ones available in Hawaii. We then weighted several key features to get our final rankings:

      Reviews, ratings and testimonials: 40%
      We analyzed verified solar company reviews and ratings to gauge real-world satisfaction.

      Overall reputation: 20%
      We considered each company's history, mission and value. Companies with generally positive feedback on our site scored highest in this aspect.

      Warranties: 20%
      A long warranty is important. We compared both product and craftsmanship warranties available from our top picks. All of our top picks have warranties of at least 10 to 25 years. 

      Equipment selection: 10%
      We evaluated each company’s selection of solar panels, storage batteries and inverters. Those with proprietary technology or a wide equipment selection from trusted brands ranked highest.

      Monitoring and maintenance: 10%
      We gave preference to companies that offer real-time monitoring, regular maintenance services and solid after-sales support.

      To recap, our top picks for the best solar companies in Hawaii are:

      • Our pick for customer service: SunPower
      • Our pick for competitive pricing: LA Solar Group
      • Our pick for solar leases: Sunrun

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Guide 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. DSIRE, “Hawaii Solar Programs.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
        2. Solar Energy Industries Association, “Hawaii Solar.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
        3. SolarReviews, “How much do solar panels cost in Hawaii, 2024?” Accessed March 14, 2024.
        4. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed March 14, 2024.
        5. Hawaii State Legislature, “196-7 Placement of solar energy devices.” Accessed March 6, 2024.

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