Hawaiian electric utility companies want state regulators to approve a solar water heating program that would provide renters and homeowners with immediate savings at no upfront cost.
The Simply Solar program, proposed by Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Company, would install solar water heating on qualified properties using utility company funds. Participants in the program would enjoy an immediate reduction in monthly bills while a portion of the electricity savings would go toward repaying the cost of the installation.
Renters are typically unable to take advantage of solar water heating. Most landlords don't pay electricity bills for rental properties and they have little incentive to install money-saving systems. Under the proposed program, the savings and repayment would be attached to the property with no upfront cost to the property owner.
Because water heating is the largest portion of most household utility bills, solar water heating can reduce monthly electricity consumption by 25 to 35 percent. Under the Simply Solar program, the savings would be greater than the participant's monthly payments, resulting in an immediate utility bill reduction.
The proposal is currently under review by the state's Public Utilities Commission.