Changes for net metering have been in the making for quite some time. With so many consumers taking advantage of photovoltaic benefits, it was only a matter of when, not if the program had to be reworked. In January 2015, HECO proposed a plan to the Public Utilities Commission that would handle the switch from what current net metering customers are abiding by, to a new, mutually beneficial system.
Currently net metering customers are hooked up to the grid, feeding what electricity they do not use back onto the system. They are credited for what energy is supplied back to the energy company (38 cents per KWH), resulting in a lower monthly bill. Many conservative net metering customers are able to keep their bill at the $18 a month base fee. Some users that run a/c or other high-energy appliances tend to pay some sort of fee above the base rate.
Net metering photovoltaic array just installed on a home in Haiku:
With most net metering customers making their way down to the $18 a month mark, HECO is experiencing a light coin purse. The upkeep for “the grid” is now placed upon consumers that do not have photovoltaic. In turn, this also is an additional incentive to switch from grid power to photovoltaic.
Beginning as few as 60 days from the proposal date, the new Transitional Distributed Generation program could take flight. The TDG program will place some of the “upkeep” costs back on the new PV users. Existing net metering customers will carry the same agreement they have. Currently, non-photovoltaic consumers are fronting the cost of maintenance and declining dependence of power companies.
From the brief description on the HECO website, the new rate will be dependent upon customer purchased energy and fuel costs not on grid maintenance and administrative costs. Instead of the current 38 cents per KWH, new customers will only be granted 19 cents per KWH.
In short, HECO will now be crediting net metering customers at a lower rate. Instead of the retail rate, they are adjusting to account for grid maintenance and administrative fees. Now reaching that lovely $18 a month electric bill will take twice as long.
Looking for seven acres along a stream, almost oceanfront, in Haiku, Maui? If so, try 715 Honokala Rd. on for size.
The blue outline shows the approximate property boundaries from a property survey overlay
This is a fantastic value at $550,000. If you are looking for a spot larger than the standard two acre lots you find on Maui at about the same price, you may want to consider this property (MLS# 361900). Located 1.5 miles off the Hana Highway in Haiku, Huelo, Maui, you have great roadway access and are a short hop to the civilized world.
There are several different sites for building with ocean views. This property has many options as it has a stream that crosses through that runs almost all the time. If you want to do some agriculture, there are several flat areas, currently in cow pasture, that should offer great productivity for your gardens and orchards.
About 3 of the acres follow along the stream and have huge old trees along both sides. There are some huge mango trees that could be 100 years old and a few tall old coconut trees too. With the varied topography, you have the option to create multiple sites for structures and gardens.
The property is being sold with a deeded easement over the adjacent 27 acres to a site that borders the oceanfront state owned property. A trail can be created from this spot to directly access the small bay below, which has great fishing and diving, and occasionally a very private surf break.
This area does not have any utilities available, so you will be a dedicated off the grid owner if you take the challenge. All nearby owners have water catchment tanks because the annual rainfall is around 70 inches. Power is generated by photovoltaic and wind systems. Internet is via satellite link.
If you don’t want utility bills, and you want to eat what you grow, take a careful look at this sustainable property. Unspoiled by paved roads, street lights, and utility poles, you only have the blue Pacific, Haleakala Volcano, and the Milky Way in your view.
As with all Maui real estate, prime location is extremely important and even more so as you move to the windward side of Maui. Rainfall has a huge amount of variation over each mile and foot of elevation.
The amount of rainfall in the general Haiku area varies from 40 inches annually at the edge of Maliko Bay at my farm at 10 feet above sea level (Maliko Farm Blog) to almost 160 inches at the end of Awalau Rd. above Hanzawa’s Store. As you move from sea level, and move East, and rise up in to Haiku, you get progressively more rainfall.
177 Laenani - Prime Location on Maui's North Shore in Haiku
Just recently, our team listed 177 Laenani in Haiku (MLS# 359649) for $1.3M, with the perfect location for both access to Makawao, Haiku, Hookipa Beach Park, and quick access to Central Maui. 177 Laenani gets 67 inches of rain annually by using the rainfall tool near the end of this post.
This property, which has two homes, is fenced for horses with two barns. The property has a variety of fruit trees and flowers, and best of all, you get enough rain that you don’t have to irrigate. Located just one lot from Maliko Gulch, this is about as far west as you can get in Haiku. At an elevation of 1,000 feet, it catches the cool trade winds that wrap around Giggle Hill, the 4th Marine Park, and the Tom Morrow Equestrian Center across Kokomo Rd.
177 Laenani main home interior living/dining area
177 Laenani is zoned agricultural and is located a few lots away from the Tom Morrow Equestrian center, which is public. If you want horses and animals, this is a great place to be. The entire property is fully fenced, which provides peace of mind for children and animals to roam and explore the 2 acre grounds of the property.
4th Marine Division "Giggle Hill" Park located right across the street from 177 Laenani
If you and your family are looking for a property with homes that are well separated, each with its own driveway and yard area, yet still close enough to walk over to “talk story" at the corral or share a barbecue, then you may want to look a little further at 177 Laenani.
Recently, I found an incredible tool for tracking rainfall in Hawaii. It is from the University of Hawaii and it is a rainfall map tied to GIS coordinates. Look at this link, play with it for awhile, and you will see what I mean about the “Dry Side" of Haiku, which is truly an oxymoron.
Clients and friends have asked me for years why I live in Haiku “where it rains all the time." Frankly, I reply with a smile and remind them that this is the first place the Hawaiian’s chose to live when they arrived on the islands. When you have adequate rainfall and you have to live off the land and the ocean, the answer is very simple; water is the source of life.
Me and my late mother preparing for a garden in 1980
After living the first 12 years of my life in the desert in Tucson, Arizona, hiking through dry gulches, dodging jumping cactus, and enduring 110 degree summer days, Maui was an easy transition. The desert does have a beauty all of its own and an amazing amount of life, but it is very difficult to survive in it for long without a source of water.
So, starting with water in two forms - the fresh water from the heavens and the salt water of the sea - Haiku has both. There is a misconception that our Maui soil is fertile. Mostly, it is not as it has largely been depleted by mono-cropping pineapple and sugarcane for years. Poor soil management makes restoring the soil a huge chore.
When I purchased my home in 1978, I bought five acres with a tiny cottage in the middle of an abandoned pineapple field. Nothing would grow. My neighbor, Guy Moen, was successfully growing commercial bananas right next door and we had a conversation that has carried me forward in my farming (and real estate) careers.
Working the land with my tractor back in 1981
Guy told me to get the soil tested at the local ag extension service at the cottage. He shared that until I supplemented the soil with available nutrients and adjusted the PH from highly acidic soil to a more neutral PH, I would have difficulty even growing a decent weed. I listened and learned.
Adding dolomite lime allowed the soil to become PH neutral and loosened up the existing nutrients in the soil. Adding rock phosphate in large quantities, replaced the phosphate depleted by farming pineapples for years. Adding organic matter, ash, and compost helped build up potassium, and supplementing with all forms of nitrogen, legumes that fix atmospheric nitrogen, and foraging animals all have gradually brought life back to my land.
The same is true of our ocean waters. We have overfished them for years and to earn a living as a fisherman is difficult. My neighbor, Adam, is a commercial fisherman, mostly fishing pelagic tuna, mahi mahi, ono, and swordfish. Adam agrees that reasonable management of the fisheries is the only way to keep feeding us all off the ocean. Recent closings of bottom fishing for onaga, opakapaka, and other bottom fish has started to slowly increase the population of these fishes and now fishermen are reporting better catches in open season.
Maui Sustainable Living and Sustainable Real Estate
I enjoy the lush vegetation that surrounds the same home that I have lived in since 1978, which is quite the contrast from when I first purchased it (see above photos)
450 North Holokai Place (MLS# 356689) in Haiku just listed for $1,850,000
A good example of a family that takes advantage of the rainfall is the owner of a new property that I have listed for sale at 450 N. Holoka’i Place in Haiku. Don and Patricia Fisher started with 2 acres of pineapple fields 12 years ago, built their dream home on it, and put in a tremendous fruit orchard and some small gardens.
They have faced the same obstacles that I have, but every day they get to walk out and pick citrus, avocados, lychee, mango, figs, and many other fruits. To farm two acres in Kihei, your water bill would be $600 or $700 per month. They pay $30 per month because they don’t have to irrigate.
Words that Patricia Fisher shared with me, “Why would somebody want to live anyplace but in Haiku? You have peace and quiet with no traffic noise, no burden of the resort commotion, good access to great restaurants, stores and Upcountry Fitness at nearby Haiku Town Center, 10 minutes to the beach at Hookipa, and it is all only 30 minutes from Kahului."
Why Not Consider Haiku?
You have world class windsurfing, the best downwind paddle from Maliko Bay, site of the Olu Kai world competition every year, surfing and kiting at Hookipa, massive winter surf at Peahi Bay aka "Jaws," great cycling and mountain biking, equestrian facilities at Tom Morrow Equestrian Center, rodeo and roping at Kaupakalua Riding Club.
Best of all, you have top notch both public and private schools as Haiku Elementary consistently scores highly in state ratings and both Montessori and Seabury Hall offer high level, college prep quality private education.
Having lived in Haiku since 1978 (I am still on my 5 acres) and raising my 3 children (all born on the property) with my wife, Laura, I truly have a feel for the land, the community and what it takes to prosper here. My children are now all successful adults and my son, Jeremy, is my business partner in real estate. We work as the “Stice Team" at Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers and we are the top selling agents in Haiku. We know and love the area, so it is logical that we can best share that love with our clients.
If you want to talk about farming, real estate, surfing, cycling, schools, canoe paddling, or living the Haiku life, please reach out to me.