Geothermal Energy Installers in Hawaii
When people hear “Hawaii,” they often think of lush green landscapes, pristine beaches, luaus and active volcanoes. As the state aims to transition to clean energy, volcanoes, in particular, provide exciting opportunities for geothermal energy exploration.
Surprisingly, there isn’t much of a growing interest in this energy alternative. Hawaii’s citizens have taken aim at the potential health, environmental and cultural impacts of embracing geothermal resources. Yet, geothermal could be the key to clean, reliable power generation for residents and businesses. Those who’ve already hired geothermal energy installers to integrate and maintain these systems reap the rewards.
Is Hawaii Exploring Geothermal Energy?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hawaii hopes to reach 100% clean electricity through renewable energy by 2045 — as of 2022, renewables account for 29% of the state’s total power generation. However, four-fifths of Hawaii’s energy derives from petroleum — higher than any other state.
Experts realize geothermal power could boost Hawaii’s transition to renewable energy. In fact, Hawaii boasts the nation’s first utility-scale geothermal energy plant, the Puna Geothermal Venture.
The PGV has had plenty of challenges in getting off the ground. After successfully reaching capacity, the plant was nearly demolished during the 2018 Kilauea eruption, not reopening until 2020. Five years later, PGV experts hope to expand capacity by 21% and then 60%.
Pushback Has Slowed Geothermal Progress
Supporters of geothermal energy realize a PGV expansion would increase Hawaii’s chance of meeting its 2045 energy targets. Expanding the PGV will also boost the state’s economy and reduce electricity costs. However, not everyone is on board.
Residents have long complained about the PGV’s noxious gases and noise pollution, sparking protests, threats and lawsuits against the initiative. Likewise, many have underscored the cultural implications of tapping into the volcanic geothermal heat.
The volcanoes are home to the Hawaiian goddess Pele, whom Hawaiians greatly revere. Some say they can feel her presence when visiting the Big Island’s volcanic region. Most agree the land is sacred — one must ask Pele permission out of respect before entering her domain.
Where Is Geothermal Energy Available in Hawaii?
The Kilauea East Rift Zone is the only area currently developed for geothermal energy — PGV is located there. For one thing, the Big Island of Hawaii is newer, with suitable characteristics for accessible geothermal heat.
The remaining islands also have the potential for geothermal heat access — yet, the probability decreases the further down the island chain you go. Geothermal energy could offset energy needs where demand is highest, such as in Oahu. The likelihood of geothermal access is greatest in Oahu’s remnant volcanic region — the southern Ko’olau mountains.
How Geothermal Energy Benefits Hawaii Residents
Residents of the Big Island should call local geothermal energy installers if they want to pursue geothermal heat alternatives for their homes or businesses. Early Hawaiians understood the benefits of volcanoes, using the steam vents for cooking and bathing in geothermal pools.
According to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaiians have benefited from volcanic heat in the following ways:
- Cooking, processing and dehydrating food
- Heating greenhouses for optimal plant growth
- Aquaculture — raising fish in warm water
- Drying firewood
- Swimming and bathing in geothermal springs
- Used in ceramics, fabric dying and other artwork
Harnessing geothermal energy will also reduce expensive electricity bills. If the PGV expansion proposal is approved, renewables will account for 65% of the Big Island’s electricity generation by 2026. Residents could then see utility savings between $9 and $13 monthly.
What Is the Cost of Installing Geothermal Energy?
When considering geothermal energy systems, homeowners may go into sticker shock — the initial price tag is steep. However, tax credits, rebates and other federal and state incentives may offset the costs of installing geothermal energy in Hawaii.
Most geothermal systems run between $15,000 to $35,000 but may cost 65% less than other renewable sources. For instance, with a 400% efficiency rating, you can expect to save 70% on utility bills — unlike gas furnaces with a 94% efficiency rating.
They also last a long time — underground parts are made to last 50 years, while aboveground parts should last over 25 years. On average, the life span of a gas furnace is roughly 15–30 years.
Of course, the only way to know how much installation will cost you is to get an estimate from a reputable geothermal energy specialist. Your household size will determine how big the heating pump must be to heat your home effectively. You can expect to pay more upfront for geothermal energy if you require a larger heat pump. Other factors include your current insulation and the climate you live in.
Heating and cooling companies will give you different quotes to install geothermal heat pumps. Usually, they base their costs on their experience and reputation, labor and product availability.
Geothermal Energy Installers in Hawaii
Geothermal energy remains in its infancy in Hawaii. Therefore, finding a reputable HVAC installation company specializing in geothermal heating and cooling may be difficult.
Kama’aina Pros proudly serves Big Island residents and businesses. You can call the company’s vetted team of professionals for a free quote regarding your geothermal needs. Kama’aina Pros mentions federal tax credits and tax rebates you may qualify for on their website, including HECO Energy Star Rebate. A Kama’aina specialist can go over ways to utilize tax credits to reduce costs.
Hawaii Air Conditioning may be another provider to consider, indicating a wide range of heating and cooling services for Big Island residents. The company promotes its utilization of the latest equipment and systems for clean, efficient energy, boasting Hawaii Energy’s Clean Energy Ally designation. Some of their products also include a 12-year warranty to ensure optimal efficiency.
The Future of Geothermal Energy in Hawaii
Geothermal energy has a long way to go before Hawaii normalizes it as a viable renewable energy source. Yet, the potential for boosting clean power generation throughout the state is vast. Hawaii residents can jump on the opportunity of energy efficiency, clean electricity and utility savings by installing geothermal heating and cooling at their homes and businesses.