Monday, December 5, 2011

Exploding Water Heater?, do the Solar Tune-Up

Urban Myth or reality?    Does is really make sense to maintain the safety features of your water heater do doing the Solar Tune-Up?   Yes it does.

Check this Discovery Video
In all likelihood your water heater won't blow up, in fact since the heater is directly connected to the piping system of your house, it is much more likely that increases in pressure would cause a rupture in the piping somewhere else.

That is, IF, your P&T Valve (pressure and temperature relief valve) didn't work properly.     The P&T is a VERY important piece of safety equipment.    Just think is a hot water pipe underneath your house ruptured, what would be the cost to find and fix it?    You wouldn't even know about it until you got a $600 water bill and $600 electric bill.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tax Information from the State of Hawaii

The combination of new technology, and State and Federal tax credits has made the Photovoltaic Energy a confusing field for some people.    Some are confused even when there is no reason to be confused.   

We always recommend that customers and potential customers review their exact situation with their tax preparer for a few reasons:

1) The money involved is substantial
2) Your income and your tax situation in this year and upcoming near term years, for both Federal and State, could influence your deicsion making process in accordance with advice of your tax preparer.
3) Ultimately, the tax preparer may have to defend your tax return, so they do have the responsibility for due diligence. 

The State of Hawaii occasionally puts out some Tax Information Releases, the colored link below takes you to a PDF of Tax Release No 2007-02 from September 17, 2007.    I call this one the "12 page clarification".

TIR 2007-02

Below is an excerpt from this TIR, on page 3, that then goes on to define a "system".  

Further down, is some information on what justifies making a "system".  If you make lots of little systems JUST to capture tax credits, you could find some of your credits disallowed.   

Click on the image below for a larger view.

  In the link just below, is a clarifying Tax Information Release TIR 2010-03 to further define what is meant by a system.

And then in the final paragraph Mr. Kawaguchi summarizes LEGITIMATE design reasons for making multiple systems.    Maybe you want a future electric car, maybe you suspect that your inlaws are going to move in, maybe you can't afford all the panels now--but you want the main infrastructure in place to support the future panels, maybe you want to keep the I(Squared)R wattage losses to a minimum maximizing the overall inverter efficiency.    Review with your tax person.

If you have insomnia, you can read all the TIRs right here!   LOL

And right nearby are what they call DOTAX annoucements, not sure what the difference is.

One thing is clear though, we all need to spend more time producing products that are really needed by our society, and less time messing around with endless clarifications, misinterpretations, specialtiy interest group disinformation campaigns, and all that silliness that doesn't increase our standard of living by hard work and reward of efficient allocation of resources.  

Now that solar is "going mainstream" it seems like every old school control group of the past is trying to dip their fingers into the pot and extract benefit for themselves, AT THE DETRIMENT of those who really need the solar, the working citizens of Hawaii.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

American Savings Bank - Financing Option

American Savings Bank - Financing Option

Friday, September 16, 2011

Another Happy customer sent us HECO bill

Thursday, September 15, 2011

HECO Bill from PV Customer

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Independence Day Quote

Independence Day and Memorial Day make me think of those who put it all on the line so that "the good man can live", see the bottom line of this poem.  

Very few understand it as well as our Military, freedom will not be yours unless you are willing to fight for it.    Anyhow, enjoy this poem, which was sent to us from Afghanistan on Memorial Day.  the Author died in Iraq May 22. 2005.   

All mortal beings, which God brought forth, die the same
Man is not exempt
All will inevitably end as the dust from whence we came
It matters not of age
Do not mourn me if I should fall in a foreign land
Think this of my passing
In a far-off field a finer soil mixed with the foreign sand
A dust that is American
A dust that laughed, cried, and loved as an American
On this plot there shall be
A little piece of America, a patch for the free man
Which no oppressor can take
From this soil grows grass shimmering a little greener
Brilliant emerald ramparts
A Breeze whisping White Poppies with scent a little sweeter
Flowers towards heaven
Mourn not my terrible death but celebrate my cause in life
Viewed noble or not
I would have sacrificed and gave all that I had to give
Not to make man good
But only to let the good man live.

By   1st Lt. Aaron Seesan
Killed in combat in Iraq on May 22, 2005.
(Written while he was a high-school senior, six years earlier)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Solar Electric Financing - Lower rate, longer term available

Bank of Hawaii is offering lower rate & longer term for Solar Financing

Your average annual rate of return on investment with Solar Electric (PV) is usually 20% to 26%.   If you can borrow money at 1.5%, and make over 20%, isn't that a no-brainer?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

PV Project Photos

We like to do not just good looking installations, but also strong, and well engineered on the structural and electrical sides. Built for lower power loss and ease of future expansion.

Hard roofs, like Japanese Tile, and Monier / Concrete are no problem.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Solar HOT WATER System Donation -- FREE!

We are gearing up to do a Charity 501 (c) (3) HOT WATER Solar Donation.     This is not Photovoltaic (solar electric).

We like to do $6,000 to $12,000 in charitable contributions per year, thus giving back to the community.

In 2009 we donated a full-on (3) Panel Hot Water Solar system for a family in Waimanalo, through Habitat for Humanity

We want to do one or two Hot Water Solar donations in 2011, we now have (4) refurbished panels so we can do 2 systems.

We are looking for a legitimate Charitable Organization -- 501 (c) (3)
We did a similar post in the early part of the year and got alot of interested parties, we are keeping all those in mind, and still have that list.   If you sent in an "application" back then, feel free to send in another application now. 

The facility must have an existing hot water heater, preferably electric, and must have significant demands for hot water usage in order to make these really worth it!

Most of the parts will be refurbished from  used components. Oftentimes, when we take a system down, there are some fairly new parts, and maybe just the tank is bad, but the panels are great.  There is also a controller, pump, timeclock, valves, and a temperature mixing valve for safety.

The savings from a simple  Hot water solar system can be in the range of $48,000 to $74,000 over the life of the system, so we think this is an awesome gift for someone who can't afford it. Non-profit organizations also cannot use the tax credits, so in order to do a solar they would have to pay "Full List Price". 

So this is the perfect way to help out a non-profit charitable organization who has hot water usage Depending on the success of this program I may also try to enlist them help of some other friendly solar companies and get them to save their refurbished part and Pitch In!

If you know the organization that has a need for free hot water, please let us know.

Drop a comment on the blog with name and contact information for the prospective recipient, and a brief decription.

Installation of the system will likely be in the June/Aug time frame.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

HECO bill from PV customer

PV Based Emergency Power Backup

There is “backup up power” using batteries and PV.   The brand name is the Outback System.  

I am putting one in my house as soon as things slow down a little

Your underhouse area should be fine for the equipment and the batteries.  You want to be weathertight, and also have the ability to secure.   I would definitely put a good lock on that door after the Outback goes in.

Good part is, that if HECO goes down, you won’t even notice a blip at all, and you will just have power.    You have to pick which circuits are your emergency circuits

1.      Refrigerator
2.      Microwave
3.      Some lights to allow bathroom, kitchen use, and travel from bedroom areas
4.      Some receptacles for Phone, Modem, Router
5.      Computer
6.      Security system
7.      Exterior lighting for security/motion lights
8.      Lights at the Outback, along with a few receptacles nearby in case you have to do some work on things.

Usually we try to keep that to 6 circuits, because you don’t want to put too much on it, and end up draining your batteries when you don’t want to, say if the power goes off and you are not home.

Typical is 8 batteries, too produce around 10kWH of storage.   
Cost around $10,000, but as part of PV system, you can get tax credits, resulting in around $3,500 which is not bad.

Compare that to a  Honda generator, $2100, accessories $200, electrical transfer switch $800, electrician to hook it up say $1000, and you are looking at $4100, plus you need to buy and keep gas on hand, and rotate your supply of gas every so often so it doesn’t go bad. 

You can add batteries, to double your storage, at any time in the future.   The batteries should last around 10 years under emergency use.

Be glad to quote this one, I like them.    Takes me about 3 hours to quote one though, because all the control and switching components are pretty complex. 

Also there are ramifications on the number of inverters and the related tie-in to the building electrical system, and thus the tax credits.    These are issues that can readily be dealt with, just be aware that they are there.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Capitol Watch

Of course, Big Business, Big Wind, Big anything does their best to influence our legislators and laws, to their advantage, which is very unlikely to also be to your advantage.

Here is a Cheat Sheet on various ways that you can express your opinion on issues that matter.

Do 2 a week.  

Sierra Club does an email called Capitol Watch.  This makes it easy to track important bills, and they give links to who you can send email to, or faxes.   I don't always agree with everything the Sierra Club does, but they do alot of good things. 

Without a healthy Aina, and our own health, we have nothing.

Check this link for the Cheat Sheet

On that same link, you can also sign up for the Capitol Watch email newsletter.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why do Solar NOW?

As the price of oil goes up, other things go up:

·        Electricity in Hawaii (follows oil upward, automatically –they do not need PUC approval—with a lag time of 1 to 3 months)

·        Cost to operate a business in Hawaii
·        Cost to produce aluminum, glass, PV collector material
·        Shipping to Hawaii

As Electricity goes up (and it still will go up more based solely on the recent increase in oil), the demand for solar products go up, and that means the cost of supplies and labor go up too.    

Very simple law of supply and demand.

Do a “pre-emptive” strike, get solar now, lock in the incentives.    

Get your system in before Electricity prices skyrocket and hurt your annual budget too badly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

PV Customer in Makakilo

Recent HECO bill - only $28 after PV installation

Monday, April 25, 2011

PV Customer - after 21 panel installed

This family Installed 21 panels using Solarworld 245.  


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great time to do SOLAR

Oil is up to $108, your electric bill follows the oil price upward with a few month lag period, so the worst is still to come.

State and Federal Tax credits are still in place, at least for now.   Every few week some legislator introduces a bill that purports to limit, reduce, or elimination solar tax credits.

Investing a net of $1500 to $2000 will generate long term savings of $50,000 to $75,000 and protect you from future cost increases.

Funding has dried up -- for 2 out of the 3 Hawaii Energy Utility rebate programs –

DON’T MISS out, the remaining Rebate Program is the best one.   We are saying….the only one left is also the best one.

You get $750.00 Instant rebate AND an Interest Free Loan, and then Hawaii Energy will pay the interest on a 5-year loan for you.   Restrictions apply, you get the loan from your bank, Hawaii Energy send them $1000 to cover the interest.

You get an INTEREST FREE LOAN FOR 5 years (many banks are participating in this special Solar program, yours probably is)

The process:
1.      Your phone call to us
2.      We perform a system design and cost estimate
3.      Upon your approval we submit for a Work Order number, which when received will lock in the funding
4.      You send the signed proposal to the bank, upon bank approval:
5.      We schedule and perform the work
6.      You notify the bank of your approval that the work is done
7.      Bank sends us a check

This will take maybe 3 to 4 hours of your time, but will get you on the path to saving $50,000 or even $75,000 dollars, even more if oil continues to skyrocket.

This is limited time, limited amount of funding.   Don’t miss out.   Call now

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hawaii Energy Announcement today


Recent articles in the Star Advertiser and local TV News have been incorrect or have required significant corrections, please closely read the following to know the facts.


With over 200 "wait listed" work order requests received last Friday, Hawaii Energy is actively reviewing the budget to provide you with a disposition of the pending work orders and outlook for the remainder of Program Year 2010.
Hawaii Energy is engaged with the Hawaii Solar Energy Association (HSEA), the PUC and DBEDT to explore funding options to address the “wait list” and the remainder of the Program Year ending June 30th.


Hawaii Energy will be issuing an update no later than Friday, April 22nd in order to relay any new information that becomes available.


·        The $1,500 SWH Rebate Program is fully subscribed and the “wait list” is closed.
·        The solar interest buy-down program a.k.a. “Hot Water, Cool Rates”, which includes the $1,000 interest buydown PLUS the $750 bonus rebate remains available.
·        Participating Contractors are advised to postpone the installation of any project for which a work order has not been issued until a clear Program Policy is issued by Hawaii Energy.


In light of the current situation, Hawaii Energy will be contacting Participating Contractors with work orders as they approach 30 days old to determine the status of these projects. The intent is to increase the certainty of committed Program funds for projects to be installed before June 30, 2011. For customers not proceding with an installation for any reason, it is imperative that Participating Contractors call in a work order cancellation in order to free up funds.

Finally, all installations seeking a work order must be completed on or before June 30, 2011. Any customer or Participating Contractor unable to facilitate an installation by June 30, 2011 may take advantage of Hawaii Energy’s new programs launching July 1, 2011.

We appreciate your patience at this time.


Hawaii Energy

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wind On Dole Street

Who says wind cannot be done in town.  This vertical axis turbine is generating power on a house in Honolulu, just off the freeway.   

They have 2 units, with the smaller being a traditional windmill type.   The smaller makes quite a bit of noise, we don’t recommend those because the Honolulu noise codes especially at night are very hard to meet.   If the neighbors complain, they would have to take that one down.   We will not do those noisy ones.

The new designs make power even in light wind.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hawaii Energy offers limited time BONUS rebates for qualified residential solar hot water installations

Hawaii Energy offers limited time BONUS rebates for qualified residential solar hot water installations
3/17/2011 Filed under Press Releases
Hawaii Energy offers limited time BONUS rebates for qualified residential solar hot water installations.
HONOLULU (March 17, 2011) – For a limited time, starting March 21, 2011, Hawaii residents on Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island will be able to take advantage of rebates up to $1,750 when they replace their old electric water heaters with solar water heaters. The increased rebates are made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and State Energy Program (SEP) fund, and will be available through May 31, 2011 or until the funds are exhausted.
The bonus rebates apply to all retrofit installations that are not already pre-approved by Hawaii Energy and are purchased between March 21 and May 31, 2011. Residents have two simple options for the offer:
Under Hawaii Energy’s “Hot Water, Cool Rates”, Program, Hawaii residents who finance a new solar water heating system to replace their old electric water heater through a participating lender will now receive a bonus instant rebate of $750 for completing a simple questionnaire aimed at improving Hawaii Energy’s programs. The program currently offers select financial institutions a $1,000 incentive to buy-down the interest rate to 0% or a low rate for borrowers. This brings the total amount of assistance to $1,750.
For Hawaii residents who replace their electric water heater with a solar water heating system, without financing through the “Hot Water, Cool Rates” Program, receive this limited time bonus rebate of $750. This will double the current $750 instant rebate to $1,500.
“We’re glad to be able to offer these bonus rebates to help residents take advantage of the benefits of solar water heating in these tough economic times,” said Ray Starling, Hawaii Energy’s Program Manager. “Solar water heating significantly reduces electricity usage and helps to lessen our state’s dependence on imported oil. It is a cornerstone of our clean energy efforts.”
Water heating costs can account for 30%-40% of the average Hawaii residential electric bill in a non-air conditioned home. A solar water heating system harnesses the sun’s heat to generate 90 percent of the energy needed to heat the water, resulting in savings of about $10 to $15 per person, per month, on average.
To take advantage of this offer, a list of Hawaii Energy’s participating Solar Contractors and Lenders can be found at Installations are completed in one day and include a free 100-point quality inspection by Hawaii Energy.
For more information on Hawaii Energy programs, call (808) 537-5577, toll-free (877) 231-8222 or visit
*About Hawaii Energy: Hawaii Energy is a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program administered by SAIC under contract with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission serving the islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and Oahu.
Media Contact:
Crystal Ingalls

Please check below Hawaii Energy Link for the current Rebate situation:
Rebate amount may change soon depending on running out of Federal Funding.
Don't Wait.