Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Hawaii

Though state incentives in Hawaii are few and far between, say aloha to solar panels for lower energy costs and a reduced carbon footprint.

The companies providing quotes may differ from those described in our independent reviews.
Solar panels on a roof in a Honolulu neighborhood.

Solar panels can mitigate high electricity costs in Hawaii.

PhilAugustavo/Getty Images

Hawaii relies on imported electricity due to its island location, resulting in the highest electricity costs in the country. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a group formed through the US Department of Energy, set the ambitious goal to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045. 

Hawaii doesn't have much of its own oil and coal, so the resources must be imported, which results in high electricity costs. Data from the Energy Information Administration shows electricity rates in Hawaii (41.74 cents per kilowatt-hour in June 2023) are the most expensive in the country. The average electricity bill in Hawaii was $199.30 in June 2023, also the highest in the country, despite being down 11.3% from a year earlier. 

Although Hawaii has poor state-level solar incentives, all US residents are able to apply for a 30% tax credit on the cost of any clean energy additions to their homes, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. You don't have to wait for the whole state to overhaul its energy industry -- the IRA's benefits have made it easier than ever to switch to clean energy. Putting solar panels on your own home can help you contribute to the state's transition away from fossil fuels while also saving you money by avoiding those high electric bills.

Can solar panels save you money?

Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

Here's what you need to know about getting solar panels in Hawaii, including the best installers operating in the state.

Best national solar panel companies in Hawaii

There are dozens of solar installers in Hawaii to choose from. If you're interested in contracting with a national solar panel company, these are the solar installers operating within the state. You should make sure to compare quotes from multiple companies to help you find the right fit for your budget. 

SunPower Solar

Best solar panels

Read full review

If you're looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don't write it off if you're looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

  • Equipment 8 / 10
  • Warranty 8.5 / 10
  • Service 7 / 10
Show more details

Tesla Solar

Most affordable

Read full review

Tesla's solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk's ventures. Even Tesla's Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won't budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla's service is a bit of a gamble.

  • Equipment 7.3 / 10
  • Warranty 6.5 / 10
  • Service 8 / 10
Show more details

Local solar panel companies in Hawaii

You don't have to go with a big national company. Here are some local companies we identified in Hawaii. Shop around and check with friends and neighbors to see who they worked with.

Local installer Independent Energy handles the entire solar process, from consultation to powering on your system. The company installs a variety of solar panel brands, including Panasonic, REC, Qcells and Hyundai. Solar battery options include Generac, Enphase and Fortress. All products come with a 10- to 25-year manufacturer warranty. 

Pacific Energy is a solar consulting and installation company in Maui. As a local company, Pacific Energy has experience with the solar policies and regulations on the island. Pacific Energy installs quality solar panels, including SunPower's Maxeon solar panels, which have an industry-leading efficiency rating (22.8%). The panels include a 25-year warranty for service and quality of work. The company also installs the Tesla Powerwall solar battery for solar energy storage. 

Since 1988, Provision Solar has served Oahu with solar products and services. Provision Solar is an authorized dealer for SunPower and installs highly efficient Maxeon solar panels, SolarEdge inverters and the Tesla Powerwall solar battery. 

How to determine which solar company in Hawaii is best for me

Getting solar panels or any kind of home energy equipment is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. You'll want to find a company that offers the equipment you're interested in. Each installer offers different solar panels, solar batteries and warranties for their products. 

You need to do enough research to trust the company doing the installation. Search for customer reviews online for each company you consider, and get recommendations from any of your neighbors that have had solar panel installations done on their own homes. It's also important to research how each company installs solar panel systems: some companies send in-house employees to do installations, while others hire out subcontractors for the job.

Most importantly, get quotes from multiple companies. The pricing of solar systems can vary widely, and much of the cost is driven by factors other than equipment.

How much do solar panels cost?

The total cost of installing a solar panel system depends on several factors, including roof maintenance, installation costs, the number of panels you need and other components like solar batteries. You may be able to offset the cost with solar incentives and rebates.

Data specific to Hawaii is hard to come by. Below is a chart displaying what the average cost of a typical solar panel system is for a US homeowner, according to data sourced from FindEnergy.com.

Average cost of solar panels across the United States

Typical system size (kW)Price per wattTotal installed costCost after 30% federal tax credit
National Average 8.6$3.67$31,558$22,091

The infographic below displays average total prices, costs per watt and system sizes for solar panel systems throughout different states, according to data from FindEnergy.com. Prices shown do not represent fluctuations from tax credits or state solar incentives. If FindEnergy doesn't have solar data for a particular state, it appears grayed out on the map.

Hawaii solar panel incentives or rebates

Federal and local incentives and rebates offset the cost of solar systems to help Hawaii residents choose renewable energy. The residential clean energy credit is a federal solar incentive crediting 30% of the total price of a solar panel system to you when you file your federal tax return. The credit was increased and extended in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022

In addition, Hawaii offers a property tax exemption and other incentives. The following are solar incentive programs available in Hawaii. 

Hawaii solar incentives

Hawaiian Electric Smart Export Similar to net metering, customers receive credits for exporting excess energy generated by their solar panel system back to the energy grid from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Honolulu Solar Loan Program Zero-interest loan programs are offered by the city and county of Honolulu to homeowners for the installation of a solar system. The program aims to assist those of low to moderate income status.
Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit Eligible homeowners may receive up to a 35% credit or $5,000, whichever is less, toward the total cost of a residential photovoltaic solar system.
Residential Clean Energy Credit Apply through the IRS for a 30% federal tax credit for solar systems installed from the beginning of 2022 through 2032. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034 and expire in 2035.

How to pay for solar panels in Hawaii 

As with any major purchase, you will want to think about how to finance the cost of solar panels. Keep in mind, the money from the tax credit won't be yours until after you've filed your taxes for the year the panels are installed. It's also important to factor in the solar payback period, which is the time it takes to recoup your upfront investment and when savings begins. 

Here are some ways to pay for solar panels:

Solar loan: Your solar installer likely has a relationship with a bank or other financial institution to offer a loan designed for solar panels. This can be a great deal, but you'll want to get multiple offers to ensure the rates and terms are the best.

Lease or power purchase agreement: Some solar companies allow you to lease your system or enter a power purchase agreement. If you choose to lease, you won't own the solar system, you'll just pay for use of the equipment. Entering a power purchase agreement means you'll buy solar energy generated from the solar company to power your home. The price you'll pay is usually lower than the retail rate from your local utility company. Note that not all incentives are available with a lease or power purchase agreement.

Cash: This approach only works if you happen to have thousands of dollars sitting around in a bank account. If you don't have that yet, but you want solar panels in the future, consider saving money in a high-yield savings account. Interest rates are high right now, and this can help you save faster.

Home equity: You don't have to use a loan from your solar company. Financial institutions offer home equity loans and lines of credit (or HELOCs) that are commonly used for home improvement projects. These loans can be used for basically any purpose, and they may be a good fit for your solar project. Shop around and make sure you're getting the best deal.

Personal loan: You can also borrow the money through a personal loan. The main difference between a personal loan and a home equity loan is that a personal loan is typically unsecured. That means your house isn't at risk. The downside is they tend to have shorter terms and higher interest rates than home equity products.

Installation factors to keep in mind

Before installing solar panels, consider the following five factors to avoid any potential surprises throughout the process and to determine if solar is right for you.

Are you a renter? Renters have less decision-making ability when it comes to changing the property. Community solar programs allow renters to subscribe and power their homes with solar from nearby panels. Check with your landlord to explore available options.

Do you have an HOA? Neighborhood and home owners associations in Hawaii can't prohibit solar panels but may have guidelines for solar placement. Check with your association for details.

Does your insurance cover solar panels? Confirm with your homeowner's insurance agency to ensure your policy has solar panel coverage.

What is your roof's condition? Solar installers may require roof maintenance after completing an inspection. According to the Department of Energy, solar panels perform best on roofs with a 15- to 40-degree slope that faces south. 

Is your home shaded? Solar panels still work when shaded by trees and buildings but perform best in direct sunlight for at least 4 hours a day. Consider the location of your home and how much direct sunlight your roof receives.

How we evaluate solar companies

Our methodology

The companies we listed above as "the best" are curated from CNET's best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we've completed a full review on a company or not, it's always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Hawaii solar panel FAQs

Are solar panels worth it in Hawaii?

Yes. Solar panels are a worthwhile investment due to the high electricity rates in Hawaii. Investing in a solar panel system that covers your home's energy needs can significantly reduce energy costs, especially once the system is paid off. 

Why is electricity in Hawaii expensive?

Electricity in Hawaii is expensive because the state has few coal and oil resources, which are often used to generate electricity. Therefore, Hawaii must import resources which adds to the total cost. Powering your home with solar energy could save you money over time. 

Are solar panels good for the environment?

Yes. Renewable energy sources, like solar power, are more sustainable and emit fewer carbon emissions than fossil fuels like coal or gas. While the manufacturing process of solar panels has an impact on the environment, the process of converting solar energy into electricity doesn't produce greenhouse gases. 

Faith Foushee CNET Contributor
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.
Faith Foushee
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.

Article updated on March 4, 2024 at 1:59 AM PST

Our Experts

Written by 
Faith Foushee
CNET staff -- not advertisers, partners or business interests -- determine how we review the products and services we cover. If you buy through our links, we may get paid. Reviews ethics statement
Faith Foushee CNET Contributor
Faith Foushee is a CNET contributor and a writer for our sister publication SaveOnEnergy.com, covering energy-efficient products, renewables and other energy topics. She enjoys learning about new energy technology and helping others save money. Faith graduated from High Point University with a bachelor's degree in strategic communication.
Why You Can Trust CNET
Experts Interviewed
Companies Reviewed
Products Reviewed

We thoroughly evaluate each company and product we review and ensure our stories meet our high editorial standards.

House with solar panels

Instantly estimate your solar cost and savings. Pick a provider later.

... Get online estimate