REPORT FROM THE BLUE PLANET FOUNDATION – The Blue Planet Foundation today announced key findings of a statewide study on the impacts of the state renewable energy tax credit on solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption behavior by Hawai‘i residents. The quantitative study, conducted by Honolulu-based QMark Research, shows that installation costs and the potential cost savings from solar power heavily influence consumer attitudes toward solar PV systems.

The study was the first of its type in examining exactly how the credit affects solar adoption behavior in Hawai‘i. Previous economic analysis by Blue Planet found that the use of solar benefited the state economy, with each dollar of tax credit yielding $2 to $3 in direct benefit to the state budget.

“The tax credit clearly works. This market research demonstrates just how effective it is in motivating homeowners to go solar,” said Blue Planet Foundation CEO Jeff Mikulina. “Without the incentive, Hawai‘i wouldn’t have had the success we’ve had in replacing oil with sunlight.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Seventy-nine percent of PV owners cite cost savings as the most compelling reason for installing a PV system.
  • Only one in four PV owners affirmed they still would have installed PV without a tax credit available.
  • Only 16 percent of potential PV customers said they would still install a PV system if tax credits were reduced or eliminated.
  • Ninety percent of respondents are very concerned (43%) or somewhat concerned (47%) about the possibility that the state will reduce or eliminate the renewable energy tax credit.
  • Seventy-one percent of homeowners cited the high cost of installation as a compelling reason for not having a PV system.
  • The top two most compelling reasons for PV owners to install a PV system were to lower or eliminate their electricity bill or to take advantage of the tax credit.

Which reasons compelled PV owners to install a PV system on their home?

Current PV Owner


Very Compelling

Some-what Compelling

Not a reason

To lower or eliminate electricity bill



To take advantage of the tax credit



This technology is better for the environment




To cut down on the use of fossil fuels




Provides energy security




Keeps more money in Hawaii’s economy










At the conclusion of the survey, respondents were offered an opportunity to provide open-ended comment on the state’s solar tax credit and solar PV in general. The following is a sample of their comments:

  • It is a win-win to install solar photovoltaic
  • Long-term protection against rising energy costs
  • Lowers bills
  • More efficient use of energy
  • Teach our children to learn how we can do our part for the environment
  • Vulnerability of the supply chain of fuels to make electricity in Hawai‘i

Commissioned by the Blue Planet Foundation, QMark Research conducted a quantitative study in the form of an online survey of 475 homeowners on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui County and Kaua‘i from March 15-23, 2013. Based on the sample size, the margin of error is +/- 4.50 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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The Blue Planet Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to ending the use of fossil fuels, starting by making Hawai‘i a global model for energy independence. By advocating for innovative policy solutions, raising awareness about the benefits of clean energy, and facilitating actions that increase the adoption of renewables and energy efficiency, Blue Planet is moving Hawai‘i beyond oil.

The Blue Planet Foundation has developed an infographic of the above key research findings, which news media is free to use. The infographic can be found at Please attribute to Blue Planet Foundation.




  1. The primary reason homeowners and businesses make the PV investment is for the electricity savings, not the tax credit. The tax credit is a secondary incentive.

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