Frequently Asked Questions
No. The PUC has declared NEM fully subscribed and closed it to new customers in October 2015. Current NEM agreements are still valid.
NEM Plus allows current NEM customers to add features such as energy storage to their rooftop solar systems – as long as the new equipment doesn't export power to the grid – without losing their current credits.
NEM Plus could be a cost-effective option for customers consistently paying for energy delivered to them, above the minimum bill or NEM customers making improvements such as adding rooms or split air conditioning, or an electric vehicle or two. NEM customers who already pay only the minimum bill through most or all the year would not benefit from NEM Plus.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission sets the requirements and limits per tariff as well as safety, performance, and reliability standards by order, tariff, or rule.
Per PUC Rule 14, which governs the interconnection of Distributed Energy Resources to the distribution grid, the timetable for the review process is as follows:
- 15 business says for the utility to review your application and confirm it is correct and complete
- 15 business days for the utility’s initial Technical Review to see if your system may impact the electric grid
- 20 business days for Supplemental Review, if required, to study any impacts in greater detail
- 150 calendar days for an Interconnection Requirement Study, if required, to determine if any equipment upgrades or other mitigation measures are needed to interconnect your system
- Customer Self Supply and Smart Export applications may be eligible for expedited review and approval.
After your application is Conditionally Approved, you must finish your project within 18 months. For all other Distributed Energy Resource projects, a 90-day extension can be requested in writing. Granting any further extensions will be at the utility’s discretion based on progress made towards completion.
To make changes to an unexecuted application, please submit a new Distributed Energy Resource Interconnection Application Cover Form along with a revised agreement. Using the CIT Online process, the new contractor or customer can click on "Request Change of Contractor."
It is important to select the appropriate program at the beginning of the process. To switch programs after an application has been approved, you must re-apply to the appropriate program and establish a new position on the application queue. A form must be submitted for the system being withdrawn: https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/documents/products_and_services/customer_renewable_programs/DER_application_withdrawal_form.pdf
If you applied to install private rooftop solar after October 2017, you should have used the Customer Interconnection Tool (CIT), a seamless, start-to-finish online solar application process that allows customers of Hawaiian Electric to manage their applications. The tool sends an email with notice of changes in status.
The tool provides a user-friendly interface to guide contractors and customers through all steps of the Customer Self-Supply program application process, from submittal to finalizing the agreement.
CIT allows applicants to submit all of their information, including electronic documents online. For convenience, customers and their designated representatives will have the ability to submit electronic signatures as well.
Hawaiian Electric inspects all installed systems greater than 30 kW to verify they system match the conditionally approved system. For systems less than 30 kW, inspection will be at the discretion of the utility. Generally, for systems 10 kW to 30 kW inspections will be based on the type of project and for systems less than 10 kW, photos including nameplate and equipment specifics, are required in lieu of inspection. Verification must be submitted prior to the inspection to show that installed inverters meet the utility technical requirements.
DER systems require a digital, bi-directional meter to measure the energy delivered to and received from the customer. This meter is provided by the utility at no cost to the customer.
All meters must be accessible to utility personnel for emergencies, meter reading, inspection, testing, and maintenance, in accordance with the Public Utilities Commission tariff (rules) and Hawaiian Electric's Service Installation Manual. If you plan to make changes which would make your meter inaccessible, you must consult the utility first, and make satisfactory arrangements to allow continued access to your meter.
Please note that your meter will not show the same reading as the output shown on your system's inverter(s), as the energy generated by your system first powers your home's electrical needs and only the excess electricity is sent to the utility.