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Has your HECO bill increased? Common causes and steps you can take to understand why.

If you’re a SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii customer and your HECO bill has increased, this Blog is for you. 

We know that you chose to get Solar installed on your rooftop to lower your electricity bill. Now that you have photovoltaic (PV) panels for your home, you might be wondering how your electricity bill could be higher.

The size of your electricity bill depends on many factors including local utility rates, energy consumption, variable weather, and in the rare instance a PV issue.

Understanding the common causes of high electric bills is one of the best things you can do to control the amount of energy you use. HECO provides excellent resources and as a PV system owner you can refer to these guides to understand your bill. 

STEP 1: Check your HECO bill to see if the amount of kWH received (REC) is consistent with other months.

For NEM customers:

Download How to Read Your NEM Bill

For CGS Plus customers: 

Download How to Read Your Customer Grid Supply Plus Bill

For Smart export customers: 

Download How to Read Your Smart Export Bill

Local Utility Rates

When reviewing your HECO bill, consider the local utility rates. Electricity prices in Hawaii are generally higher than on the U.S. mainland due to the cost of imported oil used to power many of the islands’ generators. The fluctuation in the cost of fuel, which makes up roughly 50 percent of a typical bill, is the biggest driver.

If you were surprised by your last monthly statement, you’re not alone. Oahu has seen a 50% increase in cost kWh just this year.

Energy Consumption 

Another factor to consider when determining why your bill is higher is the size of your system relative to your energy needs and what time of day you use energy.

Has your daytime energy consumption increased? Are you working from home now? Have you been entertaining out of town guests for the Holidays? Are kids home from college? All of these scenarios could mean more use of electricity and longer use of air conditioners – so the REC value could be affected.

STEP 2: Check your Solar Monitoring App. If you’ve considered local utility rate changes and your daytime consumption has not increased due to AC usage for example, the next step would be to review your Solar monitoring App. 

Below are screenshots of the three Apps that you as a SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii customer may have access to. Use your Tesla, SolarEdge or Enphase App to generate a report that compares PV production by month, over a minimum 2-year period.

Tesla:

SolarEdge:

Enphase:

*In the examples shown, there are no system issues and the fluctuations are within tolerance.

Once you have generated your report, compare the most recent full month’s PV production number with the same month the year prior. 

Weather/PV Consumption 

When reviewing your App report, consider Weather as a possible cause for the decrease in solar production.

High humidity, vog and Kona (southeasterly) winds can lead to higher electricity usage either from running an air conditioner or turning on additional fans. When comparing reports, PV production should be close, plus or minus 10% for variable weather. 

If your PV production is significantly less than the same month from the prior year (50% or more), there may be an issue with the system. If you have a SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii system, please complete the SERVICE REQUEST FORM.

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SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Troubleshooting your Solar System

Home Solar Troubleshooting

On the rare occasion you need support with your home solar system, start with SunPower’s Troubleshooting Q&A. There are several steps you can take before contacting Customer Service.

The most commonly asked Question we get from Customers is,
“Am I receiving the proper credit for the power I’m producing?”

It pays to check your utility bill each month. Production data on your monitoring app or dashboard may not match what’s on the utility meter. You can tailor your app and dashboard to match the information on a utility meter or bill. That will help you verify that you’re getting credit for he power they’re generating. Call 1-800-SunPower and Customer Service can help you understand how much power you’re generating and how to read bills to confirm your power generation.

Learn More >>

Tesla Powerwall Troubleshooting

From time to time you may find that your Powerwall may require some basic troubleshooting. Often, issues can be resolved from the convenience of your home, without the need for additional technician assistance. Save time and use the guide provided here.

Read Now >>

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SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Your SunPower Warranty is the Best in the Business

You already know that choosing to Go Solar means that you can enjoy clean energy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and save big on your electric bill for the next 30 years. That means you’ll want to make sure your SunPower by Eco Solar investment is covered. 

As the only SunPower Master Dealer in Hawaii, SunPower by Eco Solar is the best place to access the most comprehensive Warranty in the Solar Industry. SunPower’s Complete Confidence Warranty provides one warranty for your entire system, not just your panels. You never have to wonder which company you can depend on if or when you have a problem with your system. 

Solar Warranties typically consist of two key factors: 

Power: The power output of all solar panels diminish over time. Understanding your product’s degradation rate (stated in the Warranty document) gives you a clear sense of the power you’ll be guaranteed for a designated amount of time on your panel’s lifespan. If a panel’s output is lower than promised, the manufacturer will replace, repair or reimburse you for the panel. SunPower’s Solar panel degradation rate is the lowest in the industry. SunPower guarantees that your panels won’t lose more than 8 percent of their original direct current power output over 25 years. Conventional panels, meanwhile, typically lose at least 17 percent during the same period of time. 

Product: In the rare event that a solar panel suddenly stops working due to defects in materials or workmanship, the Product Warranty will likely cover it.

Some solar companies combine these elements into separate warranties, or combine products from different manufacturers, which can lead to multiple warranties spanning over multiple periods of time.  This is often confusing to customers and leads to homeowners opting to spend money to replace the system rather than sifting through multiple documents to determine if an element is covered by the Warranties. As a SunPower Master Dealer, Eco Solar only uses solar parts and engineering created by or for SunPower, so there’s no doubt that the Warranty covers the hardware on your roof and the workmanship that put it there.

Likewise, many other Solar Warranties only cover the solar panels. But there’s more to your solar system than just the panels! The SunPower Complete Confidence Warranty covers your entire system for 25 years. Monitoring hardware and storage is covered for 10 years – and the only reason for less coverage on that is because the technology is continually innovating and may require upgrades to ensure solid performance.  

Why are SunPower panels so durable?

SunPower panels are built with a copper foundation that’s meant to withstand corrosion and weathering better than other panels. The silicon in the anti-reflective glass allows light to bounce back into the panel and harvest power as efficiently as possible. This is true even on cloudy days! 

Why choose SunPower by Eco Solar? 

At Eco Solar, we’ve helped over 2,600 homeowners Go Solar and save a combined 10.9M dollars each year in every costs. With over 50 years of solar installation experience, our expertly trained in-house team is ready to become your trusted partner. We’ll work with you not only at the beginning of your solar journey, but all along the way. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that may come up, and as long as SunPower panels are in your home, we’ll be able to provide a hassle-free replacement, repair or reimbursement for any defective panel or part covered by your warranty. If your system’s not performing up to standard, a certified installation contractor can help fix the issue. 

“When SunPower saw our presence in Hawaii, and came to us with the idea of becoming a dealer, we realized this was a great opportunity not only for us, but for our customers of the future, to be able to provide the SunPower technology and the warranty that’s incorporated with that technology.” Says Ben Parish, President and Owner of SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii. 

He continues, “What makes SunPower different is that the warranty itself includes 25 years with labor. Most warranties on panels are 25 years to cover power and production. That means that the person that purchased the panel is responsible for taking down the panel, shipping it back to the supplier for testing, and even for reinstalling it back onto their home. By the time that customer pays for all of the labor and shipping – and time and effort to get that process done – they may as well have gone to their local supplier to purchase a new replacement.” 

Ben says, “We are a small company based on Oahu and our community is really important to us. Our interactions don’t stop after installation. We often see our customers around town and when we see them, it makes us happy to know they are taken care of. The SunPower warranty is so strong because the product is so strong.” 

Start saving with SunPower by Eco Solar in Oahu today! Get your Free Solar Savings Quote.


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Solar Tax Credit Increase

The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act brings clean energy benefits and means great news to homeowners who want to Go Solar. $370 billion in renewable energy and climate change is part of the Act, along with extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit until 2032 and increasing it to 30%.

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) means homeowners could get back nearly a third of the cost of their Solar system. Beginning in 2023, the 30% tax credit can also be applied to a Solar battery for energy storage.

“It’s going to alleviate some stress towards the end of this year. Customers have some time to plan their Solar projects now. Ultimately for planet Earth, it’s a great thing, because it’s going to continue to incentivize people to go Solar, which is going to help us save the planet one house at a time.” – says Ben Parish, president and owner of SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii

How to know if you’re eligible for the Solar Investment Tax Credit and what’s included

If you purchased and installed a new solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your primary or secondary residence between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2034, you are eligible for the tax credit. Your credit applies to your panels or cells, labor costs, other equipment, batteries and other energy storage devices, and your sales tax. 

What is the Hawaii Solar Tax Credit?

In addition to the Federal Tax Credit, Hawaii residents can also get a 35% Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit (RETITC) when purchasing a home Solar system. The credit is capped at $5,000 per 5 kW system. Visit the Hawaii State Energy Office to learn more. 

Now is the best time to Go Solar

In addition to your pocketbook, installing or upgrading your SunPower by Eco Solar system has other benefits. Solar power reduces use of coal and other fossil fuels, helping Hawaii get closer than ever to its 100% clean energy goal. It’s an easy way to help reduce your individual carbon footprint and limit your personal pollution. Plus, the tax credits and incentives make it simple to offset your investment costs. With the cost of electricity rising year over year, the best time to Go Solar is now.

Ready to Go Solar or upgrade your existing Solar System with SunPower by Eco Solar? Contact your Solar System Designer to get started.

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SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Meet One of Our Happy Customers

Kristen Shares Her SunPower by Eco Solar Hawaii Experience

I’m going to gush, so this may sound fake or at least exaggerated–but if you read the other reviews, you’ll realize my experience is right in line with other people’s.

The TL;DR version is: WOW! I met with Michael French on Monday, June 14th and my solar panels and Tesla batteries were installed and working on Monday, June 28th. (Yes, two weeks later–I am absolutely blown away at the efficiency and professionalism–they weren’t cutting corners, they were just incredibly capable.) The panels are producing like crazy; the installation looks great; I am a very happy customer.

The whole long-winded story for those who are curious about the details follows:

I had SunPower panels at my former house on the mainland, and was really happy with their performance, so I had a strong bias toward SunPower. I did some searching online to find out who offered them in Honolulu, and Eco Solar came up right away. I wanted to get a few quotes for comparison, though, so I sent off late-night emails to Eco Solar and another company. Both responded quickly, which was encouraging, but after all, it’s the sales process, so companies are bound to treat you well when they’re hoping to land your business.

Michael called to set up an appointment with me and came out on the following Monday. I met with a representative from the other company later that day. I asked both to give me a rough idea of how long it would take to get the system installed. Michael said it could be as fast as three weeks (I was skeptical, but he struck me as a straight-shooter, not a glib over-promiser); the other guy said they could probably do it in about four to six months. Six months would mean not getting the tax credit for 2021, which I’d told them both was important to me–I could see the schedule potentially slipping. Also, the new place is big, and I’ve been stressing about the electric bills, knowing HECO can get really expensive.

I texted Michael the morning after our meeting to find out when he anticipated getting the quote to me, and he said he was working on the previous day’s sales calls and would have it to me that day. He met that commitment–his email came in at 10:10 a.m. And just as I was started to check it out, he called to let me know he’d sent the email–nice! The quotations–he planned out two different approaches for me–were well-thought-out and thorough, and the email had all kinds of additional information about Eco Solar, about SunPower, about their warranties, their customer service, and what to expect as far as the ongoing production over the life of the panels. There was no competition. I rarely feel as confident about making a decision as I did about this one.

At the same time, I realized these things often don’t go as smoothly as expected, and figured three weeks could easily turn into two or three months. I gave Michael the go-ahead that afternoon, and received the paperwork to review and sign Thursday morning. Another commitment met–I could get used to this! Andrea checked to see what info HECO would need, Ben checked out the roof on the 17th, and on the 18th, I was receiving copies of emails from Hawaiian Electric thanks to Chris getting things moving with them.

I figured it would be a few weeks before they could do the installation, but I was feeling pretty darned pleased with how responsive and pro-active Eco Solar had been so far. Then Michael called me on the 23rd to let me know they’d start on the 28th–exactly *two* weeks since I’d first met Michael to talk about what would work for me. How exciting!

The team showed up on time, and Gavin told they expected to finish that day. 25 SunPower panels, 2 Tesla Powerwalls–I was ready for three or four days. The team members were friendly but focused–they all hustled! Ben checked with me about two different approaches for running the conduit, explaining the options from both practical and aesthetic considerations, and before 3:00 p.m., they’d finished. Gavin walked me through the system, explaining how I’d need to keep an eye on any excess power going back into the grid after the batteries were full, because until I have a new meter from HECO, they won’t differentiate between power used and power given. (Yikes–my panels are soaking up the sun!) Michael followed up the following day, and reiterated Ben’s explanation, plus he brought his drone so I could have a video of what it looks like.

So I’m four days into the installation, and I am a very happy customer. I feel absolutely confident in Eco Solar’s ability to provide support for the system as needed. They had shockingly optimistic time estimates, and they beat them. How often do you marvel at a company for under promising and over delivering? I’m obsessively checking the production, chortling at how much power the system is generating; the app is easy and informative.
I can confidently and wholeheartedly recommend SunPower by Eco Solar.

25 sleek low-profile SPR-X22-360 WHT-AC panels with integrated micro inverters using InvisiMount racking system (edited)

Kristen C. -Urban Honolulu, HI
7/3/2021

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SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Combat Rising Energy Costs & Save More with Solar

We’ve all seen the worrisome headlines about the economic news this year – inflation, supply chain woes, the pandemic, oil shortages, and more. Unfortunately, you’ll also probably see your electric bills continue to rise due to growing expenses for fuel. Did you know that we’re already paying between three and four times the average cost for energy compared to the average price on the mainland? That’s the highest electricity prices across the nation, so rising costs is unwelcome news for all of us in the Aloha state.

What if we told you there was something you could do to combat these increasing costs, all while increasing your home’s value and helping to preserve precious natural resources? Not only do you save money each month, but there are quite a few other ways to save by going solar now:

  1. Save More: On your monthly bill, your tax rate, the best warranties and more. You probably already know that harnessing the power of our sun to provide clean energy is an excellent way to lower your electric bills. But did you know solar panels are more valuable in Hawaii than just about every other area in the country? Because we receive so much direct and intense sunlight, it’s much easier for us to harness energy and transform it into savings every month.

    A wise and faster return on your investment, the average payback period for home solar systems in Hawaii is just 6 years, which is half the national average of 12 years. Most homeowners in our state start realizing a return on investment as early as 3 years.

    If you purchase a home solar system in 2022, you’ll see 35% of the cost come back as a credit at tax time thanks to Hawaii’s Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credt, in addition to the Solar Investment Tax Credit of 26% available this year. 0% down, low-interest loans are also available to assist you with your home solar investment.

  2. Save the Planet: Climate change is happening all around us, causing wildfires, dangerous storms, and record-breaking temperatures around the planet. Clearly, the world needs cleaner energy, yet only a small percentage of U.S. homes and businesses are choosing solar over dependence on fossil fuels like natural gas and coal. While Hawaii has been the most petroleum-dependent state in the past, it also has immense potential for transformation to renewable resources.

    In fact, Hawaii set a deadline for achieving 100% electricity sales from renewable sources in 2015, becoming the first US state to make such a commitment. Besides the high cost, this goal is now crucial due to the war in Ukraine, as the U.S. banned all imports from Russia, who was supplying Hawaii with up to a third of its oil resources. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) brings together business leaders, policymakers, and citizens to help the state meet its goal of achieving 70% clean energy by 2030 through renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

    By choosing SunPower by Eco Solar, you’re investing not only in your home, but in your local community. Our trusted experts live right in your neighborhood, and are familiar with the unique climate conditions of Oahu. We know just the right products, strategies, and services to help make saving the planet with solar the best choice for all of us. Save money and save your carbon footprint – too good to be true? Not with SunPower.

  3. Save your Sanity: Need the latest information and resources to help you choose the right energy savings solution for your home? SunPower by Eco Solar makes it easy and we help simplify the often confusing process. Our work together starts with an Onsite Consultation and evaluation of your home electric bills. We take this information to help create your Custom Home Solar Design. Then, our team handles all Permitting and Approvals for you to ensure a smooth transition. The last step in the process is our Expert Installation. It’s solar, simplified!

    From service to battery backup, we’ve got you covered. Because, let’s face it, power outages are simply part of our world these days. Adding Tesla Powerwall to your SunPower solar system stores your clean energy on site so that your home and family are prepared for the next time your power goes out. It’s got enough power to cover the average two-bedroom home for a full day. Powerwall is flexible and it charges your home from the grid or solar as needed. This investment also opens up your options in building a standalone electric car charging system or to power off-grid buildings too! How’s that for peace of mind?

  4. Save Time: While adding solar to your home or business is a large investment, you’ll be amazed at just how quickly you can be up and running with solar. By choosing SunPower by Eco Solar’s 14+ years of local expertise combined with SunPower’s 36+ years of dedicated solar experience, you can have your system up in running in just two weeks! Save time upfront by choosing the most efficient solar panels you can buy—backed by the industry’s most comprehensive warranty.  Our 25-year comprehensive warranty means you can invest without worrying about declines in your performance, labor, or parts.

Ready to start saving more with SunPower solar? Get started now. 

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PV Facts

Why Photovoltaic energy makes sense for Hawaii residents:

Fact: Electricity is expensive.

Hawaii has the most expensive cost per kWh in the United States. A PV system pays for itself relatively quickly and can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your dependence on the power company.

Fact: The tax Incentives are fantastic

Hawaii residents receive both a state and federal tax credit – which can be directly applied to the cost of your PV system.

Fact: It’s year-round power.

Hawaii is blessed with abundant sunshine, which means that the PV system will pay for itself at a faster rate of return than almost anywhere else in the United States.

Fact: It’s environmentally smart.

Not only does photovoltaic energy reduce environmental pollutants, it reduces our state’s dependence on oil.

Fact: Not all PV is the same.

SunPower by Eco Solar proudly installs SunPower solar energy systems. Their efficiency, reliability, longevity and warranties are the best in the industry.

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