Homeowners find new, cheaper ways for electricity

Homeowners were lining up to find out more about powering their houses with solar energy on Sunday. Solar water heating panels have been on Hawaii homes for many years.

Now, photovoltaic panels are in vogue to help lower electric costs. Hawaiian Electric Company is working on technology to adapt to the popularity of the PV systems.

“It is a slower process now than it was, but it’s nothing that our company hasn’t dealt with HECO and other systems that we’ve installed and connected to their grid. Our take is, we’re going to help you get connected to the grid. We want you to get in line for your net metering with HECO because the grid is limited,” Revolusun’s Iolani Lewis said.

The “grid” is a complex series of connections between HECO and its customers. Because of that, the utility must determine which customers can use solar power without causing a system breakdown. Some residents are opting to use batteries to store power for later use.

“Batteries are something that a lot of folks are selling right now, I believe since HECO has some inter-connection guidance. But I think that for the majority of my clients, batteries are not making a lot of sense, simply because it can mean a change in lifestyles,” Lewis said.

And that means added maintenance. Consumers passing by the booth on Sunday were taking a close look at their options, thinking about their electric bills.

“It’s not too bad right now, but I’m thinking of the future,” homeowner Chuck Yoji said.

The BIA show is one of the more popular exhibitions each year and consumers are always looking for a way to save money, including Dan Miller, who talked with KHON2 about moving toward solar power in light of his current monthly electric bill.

“Average about $225 I’d say,” homeowner Dan Miller said.

“How big a house?” KHON2 asked.

“2400 square feet.” Miller said.

“Kids?” KHON2 asked.

“Yeah a lot of hot showers, a lot of bath,” homeowner Dan Miller said.

As a reminder, homeowners looking to go solar should make sure they have all the necessary permits before installation, or you could find yourselves in the dark.

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