The sun is shining on Hawaii’s solar power plans. The state has been a leader in solar power installations, but rooftop solar panel kits are set to hit unprecedented numbers. Here’s what the sunny state has planned, along with NextEra Energy‘s (NYSE: NEE ) and SolarCity Corporation‘s (NASDAQ: SCTY ) plans to soar alongside.
Hawaii’s solar situation
Hawaii has the nation’s most expensive electricity. It relies on imported fuels for more than 90% of its total energy, pushing prices up to an average $0.34 per kWh (kilowatt hour) for 2014 (most recent data, prices through November), compared to $0.11 per kWh for the nation. Imported oil currently accounts for around 71% of Hawaii’s electricity generation, followed by 16% from coal and 13% from other renewables.
Those expensive prices have given solar a competitive edge. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind and solar in Hawaii are “economically attractive alternatives, especially as their technology costs have come down in recent years.” Between 2010 and 2014, solar capacity has soared across Hawaii’s main islands.