Frequently Asked Questions
Community-Based Renewable Energy, often called community-solar, provides a way for participating subscribers who do not have privately-owned rooftop solar to benefit from the electricity generated by a solar energy facility located in their utility service territory. Only solar projects are eligible for the initial phase with 8 megawatts of capacity available in our service territories.
Parties interested in developing a community solar project are strongly encouraged to determine whether or not their solar facility location has the ability to host a project. Check here for Hawaiian Electric's hosting capacity maps before applying for capacity. Companies, organizations, developers or groups authorized to do business in the state can become a "subscriber organization" to propose a community solar project. Information on how to apply with Hawaiian Electric to become a subscriber organization is available at hawaiianelectric.com/communitysolar.
Electricity from a community solar project will enter the island grid to help the state achieve its renewable energy goals. Once a community solar project is complete, tested and approved to begin sending electricity to the grid, customers who participate (called "subscribers") will get credit on their monthly electric bill based on their level of participation in the project.
Under the rules established by the PUC, individual customers cannot sign up for community solar directly with their utility. Instead, customers will participate in a community solar project by purchasing or leasing an interest from subscriber organizations approved and allocated community solar capacity by the utility. Interested customers will initially contact the electric company in which they have an account to verify their eligibility to participate in community solar and the maximum level of their participation. With this information, a customer may then "shop" for the community solar project that best suits their needs.
When a subscriber organization with a community solar facility is approved, customers on the island where the project will be built may become subscribers to that facility by applying directly to the subscriber organization. To the extent not already approved by the electric company, the subscriber organization will submit the name of potential subscribers to the electric utility on that island to confirm eligibility and maximum level of participation, however, final approval and enrollment is up to the subscriber organization.
A residential or commercial customer with a current electricity account at the same location for at least 6 months who has not received a disconnection notification within the last 12 months may be a subscriber. The potential subscriber may not be enrolled in another utility solar program like Net Energy Metering, Schedule Q, Customer Grid Supply, Customer Grid Supply Plus, Smart Export, Feed-in Tariff, Standard Interconnection Agreement, or similar programs.
An Independent Observer, paid by Hawaiian Electric but reporting to the Public Utilities Commission, will monitor the program to make sure it is fair and conforms to the requirements of the CBRE Tariff.
- May purchase or lease a minimum of 1 kW AC (0.5 kW AC for low and middle-income subscribers) up to 100 percent of their average energy use for the previous 12 months.
- May participate in only one community solar facility at a time and must maintain an electricity account and service address on the same island as the facility to which they subscribe. May change service address with no transfer fee if the new address is on the same island and meets eligibility requirements.
- May transfer participation or sell all or some of their participation back to the subscriber organization under certain terms.
The electric bill will show the amount of electricity and the cost at the regular residential or commercial rate that the subscriber used from the utility, less the credit from community solar participation. The bill cannot be reduced below the total of the customer charge, Green Infrastructure Fee and other per-customer surcharges in the underlying tariff and minimum demand charge, if applicable. If the subscriber's monthly credit exceeds eligible charges, the excess is automatically carried over to the next billing period within a 12-month period. An unused credit at the end of 12 months is lost.
- Oahu – 5.0 MW
- Hawaii Island – 1.0 MW
- Maui – 1.0 MW
- Molokai – 0.5 MW
- Lanai – 0.5 MW
- Oahu – 15 cents per kWh
- Hawaii Island – 15 cents per kWh
- Maui – 16.50 cents per kWh
- Molokai – 22.50 cents per kWh
- Lanai – 26 cents per kWh
Not in the first phase, per guidance from the Public Utilities Commission.
Please see the following chart for comparison(s):
|CBRE||Customer Grid-Supply Plus||Customer Self-Supply||Customer Grid-Supply/Smart Export|
|Curtailment Control||Yes, required||Yes, required||No, but designed as non-export system||No|
|Curtailment Order||Last to be curtailed||2nd to last||No curtailment||No curtailment|
|Technical Review||Yes, required||Yes, required||Simplified based on Rule 14h||Yes, required|
|Circuit Capacity||Priority over other programs||Processed in order received||N/A||Processed in order received|