On Top of the Aloha Beat BLOG


Hello out there - we're trying to go green!

While the governor of Hawaii is promoting Green legislature, the county of Kauai is still dragging its feet. A property owner in Wailua, the mountain area just above Kapaa,  hangs poised to run the island’s first Skystream 3.7 residential windmill, which he and other community members say they want in order to cut their electric bills and “go green” at home. Kauai has one of the most expensive electical costs in the entire US and many folks here would prefer to generate their own power. With current technology however, there is a still about a seven year ROI.

Kaua‘i Electric installed a 1.8-megawatt renewable-energy system Monday at the Wailua Homesteads agricultural subdivision, but the county electrical inspector still needs to sign off on it. The owner first submitted his permit package to the county Planning Department on Sept. 5. After three months of department-hopping for approvals, the county granted his request to install the windmill.

A final inspection of the project is scheduled for today. The system must have its final sign off before Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative says it can schedule a site visit and process the paperwork necessary to install a net metering system — a process that generally takes one to two weeks. The net metering system  allows residents using solar, wind or hydropower to plug into the local grid and literally spin their electric meters backward. It measures imported and exported power. For a wind turbine, the local electric utility would supply power when the wind fails to blow and let residents sell excess energy back when conditions are ripe.

The owner of this rural property has estimated that just 72 hours of 12 mph wind would produce 100 kilowatts and save him roughly $40 per month. But it takes about a year of data to make reliable predictions, he said.

An unclear county process has snared residents  who want to use wind turbines for crop irrigation
Kaua‘i Electric has a warehouse in Kapa‘a that houses the state’s largest inventory of Skystream systems, and until the county gets its act together, the Skystream systems will just sit and gather dust.

Despite the fact that the owner of Kauai Electric get up to 25 calls a week for his alternative energy systems, until our wonderful county gets its act together, embarking down this green road stills takes a ton of patience, and many owners are not willing to invest the time and money until the county figures things out in terms of permits and permissions.

Don't you just love bureaucracy? 

Ron Margolis, RA, CDPE, ABR Hawaii Life Real Estate Services 808.346.7095 email: ron@hawaiilife.com

Comment balloon 8 commentsRonnie Margolis • January 25 2008 12:24PM



Hang tight, It will happen sooner or later. This sort of thing is everywhere, We just need to calmly keep pushing and jumping through the hoops that people put up, eventually we will win. 

Posted by Michael I. Pulskamp, REALTOR, EcoBroker, GREEN Desingnee (Mainstreet Brokers) over 12 years ago
Hi Ronnie,  This is very interesting.  Please keep us posted on how it goes. 
Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) over 12 years ago


Uh! How frustrating! I'm certain that, with the continued perseverance of people like you, the turbines will get their time to shine.

Please update us on the final inspection and net metering installation - I certainly hope it goes smoothly!


The San Diego Real Estate Expert

Posted by Emily Johnston (Keller Williams Realty) over 12 years ago
Living on islands in the tropics, it is amazing that we are so petroleum dependant.  We should be the testing grounds for many technologies.
Posted by Randy L. Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 12 years ago
Ronnie - Good luck with your effort - the utility/county employees are uncomfortable with the drastic change...they're probably trying to figure out how they'll fit in if this stuff REALLY takes off!!!  You and your co-horts will get them there!
Posted by Eva Armstrong, Environmental Visions (Environmental Visions) over 12 years ago
Thanks all for the comments. Do you find the same type of thing happening in your area, or are the counties more aware and supportive of the alternative energy efforts? Here on Kauai, our electricity prices are highest in the nation. Arghh!
Posted by Ronnie Margolis, Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh (KW Kauai) over 12 years ago
I think you are not alone.  I read something recently where some people had to take down solar panels in New Hampshire because they were not permitted!  It is going to take a while for everything to get in place.
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 12 years ago
I don't really think we have "a while" to get our act together regarding conserving energy and shifting our paradigm for oil usage. Our electricity, like most, comes from oil.
Posted by Ronnie Margolis, Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh (KW Kauai) over 12 years ago