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SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

SunPower by Eco Solar Wins National Customer Excellence Award

Chris Osaki, Ken Best, Michael French, Tony Garzolini, Ben Parish, Sarah Amadeo, Norm Taffe and John Vallesteros.
Chris Osaki, Ken Best, Michael French, Tony Garzolini, Ben Parish, Sarah Amadeo, Norm Taffe, John Vallesteros.

SAN DIEGO, CA, March 5, 2019 – SunPower by Eco Solar, an Oahu-based solar installer, has received the 2018 “National Customer Excellence” award from SunPower. The recognition acknowledges exceptional service resulting in the highest customer satisfaction and loyalty scores when compared to other SunPower residential dealers in the United States.

“We are very honored to receive the customer excellence award from SunPower” said Ben Parish, owner of SunPower by Eco Solar.

“It is our goal to treat every one of our customers homes as if it were our own. We focus on doing each and every installation to the highest standards and strive for a very satisfied customer every time.”

“Using the best equipment in the business combined with talented individuals on our office, sales and install team; we aim to deliver the ultimate solar plus storage system for homes in Hawaii.”

The National Customer Excellence award is given to the SunPower dealer that achieves the highest customer Net Promoter Score (NPS), a metric measuring how likely customers are to recommend a company’s products or services to others. SunPower determines dealer NPS based on surveys completed by homeowners following the installation of their SunPower system.

SunPower National Customer Excellence Award 2018
SunPower National Customer Excellence Award 2018

“SunPower’s reputable national dealer network is strengthened by regional solar companies like SunPower by Eco Solar, selected for their quality craftsmanship, industry expertise and customer service,” said Norm Taffe, SunPower executive vice president, residential solar.

“We congratulate them for their extraordinary performance in 2018 as a residential dealer, putting customers first and delivering a valuable solar experience that homeowners are excited to share with family and friends.”

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Giving Old Solar a New Life Under NEM Plus

NEM Plus solar Oahu
2011 conventional solar array is shown in the center, the 2019 installation of high efficiency SunPower modules are seen in the upper left and lower right.

“My parents put the first set of 10 panels on. That was good for the time being with just my parents living in the house. Since then we’ve built an extension to our home and there’s a lot more things going on, a lot more people living in the house now and also we have an electric car.”

“That drove our electric bill up to about $400 a month even with the existing 10 panels.”

With a grandfathered-in Net Energy Metering (NEM) agreement with Hawaiian Electric, Keane K. of East Oahu had no viable options for expanding upon the original 10-panel system his family installed in 2011 until the NEM+ program was announced in 2018.

Even before the program was officially launched in late 2018, Keane started a conversation with SunPower by Eco Solar system designer Matt Householder.

“Matt was super proactive with the rest of the Eco Solar team, as soon as the NEM+ program was announced, they shot in the plans for permitting.”

Keane worked closely with Matt to design a system that would fit the family’s pattern of mostly nighttime power consumption, including plugging in an electric car after 5:00 PM every day. He decided on 23 SunPower E-Series 327W panels feeding two Tesla Powerwall batteries.

“To have the ability to store that power was a huge deal for us. You don’t even have to think about it, there’s no switching, it just does it automatically. So when the sun comes up, it powers my house and charges my battery so at night the house is just running off all the battery power that was generated during the day.”

SunPower Tesla Powerwall Oahu
Solar Designer Matt Householder explains the Tesla app to SunPower by Eco Solar customer Keane K.

Now, Keane and his family are able to power their house completely with solar while also enjoying the benefits of emergency battery backup.

“So far, the NEM+ program is working great for my family and I, almost all of last year we were paying close to $400 a month on our electric bill.”

“It’s been two months since we’ve had the panels up and the batteries installed, so far we’ve been zeroed out, we’ve actually had a small credit from our existing system – not much – but that tells me the sizing of the system, all the engineering that went in to make this happen was perfect.”

“All in all, I would definitely recommend SunPower by Eco Solar to anyone who is looking for just a great crew of people. A great company that’s going to do an awesome job of installing and taking care of you along the way.”

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Battery storage: the new normal for Hawaii PV

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Battery-backed PV systems are increasingly the option of choice for Oahu homeowners.

A growing number of SunPower by Eco Solar customers are installing high efficiency SunPower panels in combination with Tesla Powerwall.

It’s the world’s most efficient solar panel in harmony with the battery system that’s setting the standard for innovation and value.

Seamless home backup

A single Powerwall provides backup of critical circuits like lighting and refrigeration. Two supply enough capacity to back up all circuits in most homes during an emergency.

Seamless backup means never even realizing the power went out. Powerwall instantly takes over when an outage occurs. No need to reset clocks and power devices back up.

Save the grid for a rainy day

Generate and store enough energy to self-power your home almost every minute of the day. Minimal monthly electric bills are achievable even under the new requirements from Hawaiian Electric.

SunPower panels generate 44% more energy per square foot than competing panels, so even with limited roof space you can achieve maximum savings and peace of mind knowing your solar investment is protected by the industry’s best warranty.

Questions? Please contact us.

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Hawaii Hurricane Season: How Solar Can Help

What would it be like if Oahu suffered a direct strike from a powerful hurricane? The 2017 Pacific Hurricane Season begins June 1. How many homes might be without power and for how long? What can be done to prepare for and cope with an extended power outage?

How much disruption can hurricanes create in Hawaii?

September 11, 1992. Hurricane Iniki, a Category 4 storm, strikes the island of Kauai.

When Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai in 1992, almost 300 miles of power lines were brought down. A month later, only 20% of customers were reconnected to the grid and full coverage was not restored until three months after Iniki’s landfall.

In 2016 Hurricane Matthew, which only grazed Florida’s Atlantic coast, knocked out electricity for over one million customers. Satellite imagery dramatically demonstrates how large of an area can be left in darkness from a strong hurricane.

How ready are utilities to deal with a massive power outage?

Not very, and it isn’t just a Hawaii problem. Over the last thirty years power outages have increased twentyfold, according to researchers. The two main causes are aging infrastructure and the changing environment.

October 6, 2016. Satellite imagery shows power grid fully operational as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

Electrical infrastructure in the United States is 40-60 years old on average, and rising sea levels have left more critical components within the reach of storm surges and flooding, exacerbating the problem.

At the same time, surging ocean temperatures have lead to an increase in the severity of storms. With warmer water as fuel, wind speeds are now stronger, pushing more cyclones into Category 4 and 5 statuses worldwide.

Weather isn’t the only factor. In March 2016 a significant outage on Oahu was caused by a generation shortfall. Hawaiian Electric staged rolling blackouts until demand dropped to tenable levels.

What can be done to prepare?

Traditionally, homeowners have turned to gas-fired generators for backup power in an emergency, but is this a sustainable option for an outage lasting days or weeks?

hurricane Hawaii power outage
October 7, 2016. Hurricane Matthew causes massive power outage affecting more than one million homes. Map of Hawaii is superimposed for scale, demonstrating how large of an area can be knocked offline by a large storm.

Consider that it takes an average of 12-20 gallons of gasoline to run a typical home generator for 24 hours. Will you have enough fuel to last for an extended time? Keep in mind that gas stations will likely be without power also, and rationing might be enforced during an emergency.

A viable and long-term solution is solar power combined with home battery backup. Tesla’s Powerwall in combination with SunPower solar panels can keep you up and running even if the grid is down.

A single Powerwall stores over 13 kWh of energy, enough to power an average two-bedroom home for a day. Adding additional Powerwalls in combination with solar can provide enough energy to endure a protracted outage with minimal impact.

Emergency home battery backup can work on any home, with or without solar, and won’t affect your net metering (NEM) or grid supply status with Hawaiian Electric.

To find out more about this innovative solution, give us a call at 808 744-2274 or contact us here.

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Need a lot of solar energy in a small space?

TSunPower 360 watt panelshis striking 430 square foot addition to a 1920’s era Diamond Head home features a rooftop sun patio with panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu.

With only 300 square feet of available roof space, our customer needed the maximum solar energy production possible.

He decided on SunPower X-22 series panels.

At 360 watts and record-breaking 22% efficiency, they deliver more energy per square foot than any solar panel ever made.

This 12-panel system may be compact, but with over 600 kWh of monthly production, it offsets around $180 per month in utility costs.

Small addition roof deck solar panelsX-22 series is available today from Hawaii’s only SunPower Master Dealer.

Contact SunPower by Eco Solar now for a free quote.

SunPower's X-22 series 360 watt solar panels
SunPower’s X-22 series 360 watt solar panels allow the most possible energy output when you’re working with a small amount of space.
SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

HECO opens up limited solar grid space

HECO Hawaiian Electric CGS Grid Supply SolarOn April 9, 2017, Hawaiian Electric announced that 10MW of space has been cleared for new solar energy projects on Oahu under the Customer Grid Supply program (CGS). This space will likely be swallowed up within a few weeks according to industry experts.

Additional capacity was freed up as customers who filed for solar under Net Energy Metering (NEM) agreements but never built their system were purged from the waiting list.

The original CGS program, launched in October 2015, allowed 25 MW of grid space on Oahu. The arrangement allows customers to sell electricity back to HECO and achieve significant savings. That first 25 MW lasted approximately nine months.

SunPower instagram Hawaii OahuLike previous programs for solar, HECO takes applications on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you’re considering solar, or know someone who is, it is imperative that you apply immediately!

We will help you secure your space, but please contact us now!

If you’re on Instagram, please follow us! We’ll be posting shots of recent installs, cool short videos and other behind the scenes looks at what we’re up to.

We welcome you to follow us at sunpower_by_eco_solar or just search for our name within the app.

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Help us help families in need

UPDATE: A big mahalo to our Eco Solar ‘ohana for helping us reach our goal! Over $2,000 was raised to support IHS during our Earth Day fundraising drive.

The Institute for Human Services provides critical support to Oahu families and individuals struggling with homelessness. They need your contributions year-round, so if you missed this opportunity, you can continue to provide support in many ways.

Find out more here.

At SunPower by Eco Solar, we believe in sustainability. We care about our environment as well as the people in our community.

Over the years, we’ve been a proud supporter of the Institute for Human Services. IHS is on the front lines every day, helping hundreds of Oahu families and individuals struggling with homelessness transition into stable housing.

To commemorate Earth Day, April 22, 2017, I’m asking our Eco Solar ‘ohana to join me in support of IHS.

For every dollar you donate during the month of April, we will match your contribution, up to a total $1,000.

Any amount, large or small, goes directly to support people in desperate need right here on Oahu.

Thank you,
Benjamin Parish
Owner – SunPower by Eco Solar

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Going Virtually Off-Grid with Solar and Home Batteries

Tesla Powerwall Oahu
Bronson’s system uses two Powerwall batteries to store energy generated by his solar panels

Ever wonder what it’s like take your home virtually off-grid with solar panels and a home battery system? Air traffic controller Bronson installed 36 SunPower panels and two Tesla Powerwall batteries on his Ewa Beach home in October of 2016. So far, the results have been impressive.

Here’s how it works. Electricity generated by the solar panels takes one of three possible paths, but it always prioritizes like this:

  1. House
  2. Batteries
  3. Grid

On a sunny day, solar power runs the A/C, fridge and everything else. Excess power fills the battery. After the battery fills up, all remaining energy is exported to the grid.

SunPower panels Hawaii Tesla Powerwall battery
36 SunPower 327W modules maximize solar production on a limited footprint

When the sun goes down, the batteries kick on, supplying steady power to the home through the night. If the batteries become depleted, grid power comes on to bridge the gap until solar starts filling them up again.

Powerwall made it possible for Bronson to go virtually off-grid. With the right combination of solar panels and batteries; dependence on the utility is almost eliminated. Grid power can be thought of as a backup, there only to provide energy during when cloudy weather impacts solar production.

An important benefit of the Powerwall is its ability to provide backup during a power failure. During the planning process, SunPower by Eco Solar helped Bronson identify two critical circuits that automatically switch on when grid power fails.

In January, Bronson’s system produced 120 kWh more energy than he consumed. As summer months come on with longer days and better weather, his ability to offset grid power will go up even further.

An important note about connecting to the grid:

Powerwall production graph
Production, storage and export of energy for the month of January 2017

Bronson’s system was installed under HECO’s Customer Grid Supply (CGS) program, which allows credit for energy he exports. Systems installed under the newer Customer Self Supply (CSS) are not allowed to export; so all energy generated must be consumed or stored.

Systems installed under CGS can potentially be retrofitted with Powerwall in order to achieve greater savings and emergency backup. To find out more, contact us for details.

Why not go completely off grid?

It is theoretically possible in some instances, but it is impractical and cost-prohibitive for average homeowners.

Off-grid means no connection to the grid at all, so you must have enough battery storage to endure many potential days of cloudy weather. You’d also need enough solar panels to fill those batteries.

Bottom line: that’s a lot of costly equipment that takes up a lot of space. If saving money is the goal, going completely off-grid won’t get you there.


Tesla Powerwall home battery Hawaii testimonialVideo Testimonial: Bronson M.

“The Tesla batteries were far ahead of the ball game. The efficiency, the longevity, no one even came close.”

Click here to watch the video…

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

What’s next for solar energy on Oahu?

Solar panels Oahu self supplyAs we reported in our last post, Hawaiian Electric’s Customer Grid Supply program was nearing capacity on Oahu. In September, the program was officially closed out.

So what are the options for solar now?

With HECO’s new Customer Self Supply program, you can still:

  • take advantage of tax incentives
  • reduce your dependency on grid energy
  • achieve significant monthly electric savings

Beyond that, Self Supply makes it easier to incorporate innovative technology like battery backup and smart energy management into your home energy portfolio.

Here’s what you need to know about Self Supply…

You Tube solar testimonial OahuCheck us out on YouTube!

We are proud to announce the launch of our new YouTube channel!

On it you can find videos from customers talking about their experience with SunPower by Eco Solar as well as fact-filled clips about our products.

Check it out here…

SunPower by Eco Solar Blog

Space is Running Out for Grid Supply Program!

Grid supply program comes to an end
Under grid supply, HECO buys the excess power you generate during the day for a set rate. Learn more here

The Customer Grid Supply Program (CGS) from Hawaiian Electric, launched in October 2015 to offer a solar opportunity to homeowners who missed out on the Net Metering program, is drawing to a close.

25 MW of grid capacity was originally allocated, but the most recent update from HECO shows the capacity to be under 5 MW. During a recent 20-day period, over 7% of the remaining space was reserved with new applications!

Sources inside Hawaiian Electric indicate that the pace of new CGS applications is increasing as the limit approaches. We anticipate that the program will expire in late September or early October at the latest.

Bottom line: if someone you know is still waiting to get solar, it is urgent that they reach out now to reserve their grid space!

To learn more about how the grid supply program works, please read our explanation of the program.

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