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Building Management Hawaii December/January 2014 - (Page 16)

Solar Industry Leaders of Tomorrow: YOU -the INVESTORS! BY JEFF DAVIS, "The Solar Guy" In the first 10 months of 2012 (January through October), the City and County of Honolulu issued 12,536 permits for residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems, according to Hawaii's Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). These projects, valued at $515 million, accounted for 28.6 percent of the value of all building permits issued during that time period. The value of PV permits in Honolulu County increased 186.2 percent compared with the same period in 2011. Today's market and contractors have rapidly evolved regarding the incredible return on investment and predictable cost of electricity for decades to come. As for tax credits, no other investment I can think of has the "guaranteed" return on investment as solar, barring a drastic reduction of the cost of oil. This government "tweaking" of our solar economy, with virtually unlimited 35 percent state tax credits and 30 percent federal tax credits, has resulted in the explosion of the solar industry in Hawaii, where residential and commercial electrical costs rank the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Monthly Electric Sales and Revenue Report (last updated May 2011). "It's evident that the industry has evolved in a positive direction," said Rolf Christ, president and owner of R&R Solar Supply. "My greatest concern, ironically, is not tied to production or innovation, but to the unorganized industry related largely to the political work to be done. Without solidarity in our industry (as trade groups worldwide have in place), the hard day-to-day technical work in the legislature or PUC docket is not properly funded. Without a cohesive voice in the policy making arena, we will lose the public's support for solar, and the legislative goals of our industry will achieve less as individuals than as an organized trade group. I encourage all solar contractors to join the HSEA (Hawaii Solar Energy Association). For example, with more companies to fund the work required in the political field, we can more securely foresee our future." New Products Commercially we have seen more development by far in the "mechanisms" of solar application (financing, power purchase agreements, etc.) than in equipment. Relating to equipment, the bottoming-out of the price of silicon and competitive price wars have brought any possible investor to the "premier" time to invest. Many talk of 16 December 2013 - January 2014 BMH "high efficiency" panels as if this electricity was of a better class of energy. You will see 98 percent of commercial investment leading to respected manufacturers with the lowest prices. Why pay more for a smaller number of more "efficient" PV panels when you can buy twice as many with more electricity output for the same dollar? Generally, the industry will sort the sales from the bottom line sooner than the residential market. Perhaps the only better form of electricity is the less expensive variety. The Future The economy's influence on the solar industry has been classically affected by the impermanence of the solar tax credits that support its growth. Similar to the cost of oil itself, tax credits that accelerate an economic engine, such as the solar industry, are prone to factors of uncertainty. Early entry in the solar boom turned out to be the best choice regarding ROI. Although initial install prices were higher, the savings on electricity over time far outweighed the cost of early adoption in PV solar technology. Today, it's a no brainer. The leaders in the solar industry today are you, the investors. "The Solar Guy" Jeff Davis is in partnership with Kamiyama Solar and has been involved in the solar industry for more than 20 years. Jeff is the host of Hawaii's Tomorrow, a radio talk show that airs on KGU 760 on all main islands seven days a week from 5-6 p.m. Connect with him at

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii December/January 2014

Signs & Safety How Do I Get Out Of Here?
Signs Of A Safe Building
A Sign From The Feds
Water Savings Coming Clean With Recycled Water
Water & Energy: Two-For-One Savings
Solar  Hawaii’s Leaders In Solar
Waterproofing Cementious Coating Vs. Polyurethane Foam
Sky Arches
The $1 Million Mistake
Seal The Deal
Resin Injections Save Basement
Waste Management Keeping The Trash Industry Clean
Special Offer
Assistance Animals Making Room For Rover
Green Cleaning Be Green: Resources & Tips

Building Management Hawaii December/January 2014