Hawaii Enjoys Better Access to Solar Hybrid Water Heaters
As the regulatory environment for residential solar power changes, a new partnership with Pacific Energy Alternatives, Sun Bandit solar hybrid water heating systems will be more immediately accessible to builders, contractors and property owners throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaii has the most expensive electricity rates in the nation -- nearly double the national average. Yet a majority of Hawaiian households use electricity to heat their water, something that traditionally accounts for around 35% of home energy bills. Hawaiian Electric touts solar water heating as an easy way to go solar while reducing energy costs. But industry-wide, adoption of standard, mechanical (pump-driven) solar water heating systems has failed to meet expectations, often because of ongoing maintenance issues.
Sun Bandit is the world’s first SRCC-certified, UL-listed, PV-powered solar water heating system.
The partnership -- along with NGE’s Sun Bandit technology – was introduced this month at Hawaii’s Maui Energy Conference, whose "All Things Energy: Pursuing New Opportunities for Electricity and Beyond" theme provided a timely platform to showcase leading-edge solutions like Sun Bandit and to help the greater Hawaiian marketplace reduce energy costs and achieve the 100 percent sustainability goals of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
“Sun Bandit’s off-grid capabilities are ideal for markets like Hawaii, where net metering incentives are sunsetting and the desire to find relief from runaway electric bills is rising,” said Next Generation Energy’s Chief Operations Officer Lori Beedon.
In response, NGE’s engineering innovators created Sun Bandit, whose certified solar water heating solutions eliminate fluids, leaks, pump stations, overheating, stagnation, freezing and the complicated installation and maintenance issues that can erode the value proposition of traditional solar water heating. It’s easy to verify the Sun Bandit system is working – like traditional PV solutions, it comes with its own monitoring system.
With its blending of solar power and water heating, Sun Bandit presents a new solar water heating option for consumers looking to replace traditional solar water heating systems as well as) plumbing, PV and electrical contractors seeking more dependable solutions for their customers. For the Hawaii market, it's great for vacation property owners looking for low-cost energy-saving solutions and builders and multi-family property owners seeking to gobble up tax incentives, meet emissions reduction goals and attract and retain sustainably inclined tenants.
Just last year, Hawaii Energy created an entirely new category of solar water heating rebate for Sun Bandit consumers. Local rebates can be combined with state incentives (where available) and a 30% federal investment tax credit, further strengthening its ROI to eligible consumers. In some instances, incentives can collectively deliver up to 50% savings on qualifying systems.
These are among the reasons the Pacific Energy Alternatives team approached NGE about distribution opportunities – and why co-founder and CEO Greg Atchley says his dealer network is enthusiastic about bringing Sun Bandit technology to mainstream Hawaii – and to Main Street USA. But these aren’t the only reasons.
Expedited Solar: A License to Save
“With Hawaii’s aggressive new sustainability goals, wait lists for permits to facilitate solar installations are frustratingly long,” Pacific Energy Alternatves CEO Greg Atchley said. “Sun Bandit creates a load reduction that lowers energy costs without dependence on politically-charged tariff, net metering and utility approvals. And Sun Bandit’s off-grid capabilities don’t require interconnection; installation can start the day after a contract is signed. One trip to the Building Department for a permit and customers can start saving.”
Atchley said the pro-sustainability values inherent in the Next Generation Energy team combined with Sun Bandit’s multi-faceted value proposition present a stellar opportunity to deliver leading-edge solutions that create jobs, increase cash-flow and offer a lower cost of market entry for PV solutions that accelerate Hawaii’s solar adoption rates.
“Our priority is to provide all who are working toward a more sustainable future -- dealers, contractors, builders, public officials, non-profits and homeowners – faster access to Sun Bandit solutions as a way to achieve both their immediate needs for lower energy bills and the more lasting legacy of the sustainable energy future outlined in Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative," Atchley, said.