Hawaii – Leading the nation in solar energy
February 3, 2015
Endless days of sunshine, warm waters, blue skies – it doesn’t get much better than island living in Hawaii. And all that sunshine has helped the state to become a leader in sustainable solar energy.
Due to its geographic isolation from the mainland, Hawaii’s energy infrastructure is unique among U.S. states. It produces no petroleum, natural gas or coal. As a result, 93% of the energy consumed had to be imported in 2012. Due to dependence on imported petroleum coupled with the fact that electricity grids are not connected between islands (each has to generate its own power), Hawaii had the highest retail electricity prices in the nation in 2013.
These costs led Hawaii to explore renewable sources of energy, including solar energy. Its tropical location provides abundant sunshine to produce solar energy and led Hawaii to become one of the leading states in solar installations per capita. Rooftop solar has grown dramatically in the Aloha state in the past several years.
Overall, Hawaii's utility-scale electricity generation from solar energy increased nearly six-fold in 2013 and made it the first state in the United States to reach grid parity for photovoltaics. (Reaching grid parity means it generates enough energy to be a contender for development without subsidies or government support.)
Solar power, both utility scale and rooftop systems, is part of our state’s diverse clean energy portfolio. With energy from solar, wind, waste-to-energy, biofuels, hydro and geothermal facilities, Hawaii receives 20% of its energy from renewable sources. Hawaii is setting new standards for others to follow, so that future generations can live in a cleaner, more sustainable world.