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
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
December 2013 - January 2014
"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
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 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
The $1 Million Mistake
Seal The Deal
Resin Injections Save Basement
Waste Management Keeping The Trash Industry Clean
Assistance Animals Making Room For Rover
Green Cleaning Be Green: Resources & Tips
Building Management Hawaii December/January 2014