Frequently Asked Questions
When discussing electricity, "load" refers to the amount of electricity used by a customer.
Load varies throughout the day. In Hawaii, peak demand typically occurs between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. when most people arrive home from work, turn on the TV, start laundry, cook dinner, etc.
Daytime minimum load (DML) is lowest amount of electricity used during the day. This typically occurs during the middle of the day, when residential customers are out of the house and their homes are using little electricity. This coincides with the period of time when PV systems are operating at their peak, during midday when the sun is high. This can result in having an excess of available PV energy.
The total amount of distributed energy resource on a circuit can be calculated as a percentage of the DML. In circuits with a generation-to-DML ratio over 250% extra care must be taken to ensure safe, reliable interconnection of distributed energy resources systems. This may require advanced equipment specified by the utility.
Visit the Locational Value Map, or LVM, on our website to find out the generation-to-DML percentage on your neighborhood circuit.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved these new rooftop PV programs to support the continued growth of rooftop PV and ensure safe, reliable service and fair treatment for all customers. The decision is the result of the PUC's effort to develop long-term technical and policy solutions that will support the continued growth of rooftop PV in Hawaii.
The PUC also directed that these new options will replace the NEM program. Customers with a current NEM agreement and those with valid pending applications hand delivered or postmarked on or before October 13, 2015 will continue under the NEM program.
No. The PUC has declared that the NEM program is fully subscribed and closed to new customers on October 12, 2015. Customers with a current NEM agreement and those with valid pending NEM applications hand delivered or postmarked on or before October 13, 2015 will continue under the NEM program.
Any application that was hand delivered or postmarked after October 13, 2015 will need to be converted to another program.
Many distribution circuits have Distributed Energy Resource systems that generate more electricity than customers use, which can result in power flowing in reverse back into the grid. This can result in high voltage conditions that may damage a customer's home, your electronics or appliances, or even your neighbors' electrical equipment. In addition, the power produced by wind or PV systems fluctuates with changes in the wind, cloud cover, time of day, and weather conditions. These rapid fluctuations in power can damage utility equipment designed to regulate voltage levels on a circuit.
CSS is intended only for solar PV installations that are designed to not export any electricity to the grid. Customers are not compensated for any export of energy.
CGS customers receive a PUC-approved credit for electricity sent to the grid and are billed at the retail rate for electricity they use from the grid.
The programs are designed to provide options for different kinds of customers. Therefore, one program is not necessarily better than another; it simply depends on what suits your particular situation. Please consult our website to help you choose the best program to fit your needs.
No, there are no application or processing fees.
This is a question that your tax advisor should answer for you. Each customer's circumstances may be different and it is not appropriate for the company to render tax advice.
However, it should be noted that the CGS program provides customers credits for excess energy produced by their PV systems in the same manner as the legacy NEM program.
The CSS and SIA programs do not provide credit for exported electricity.
Schedule Q is the only Distributed Energy Resource program that pays money at a fixed tariff based on avoided cost (avoided cost is currently updated monthly. For example, the rate is 11.69 cents/kilowatt-hour for 9/2015) for electricity sent to the grid.
Customers are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax advisor or legal counsel since the facts and circumstances for the various programs differ and could affect taxability.
No. It is important that the selection of the appropriate program is made at the beginning of the process. If an Applicant desires to switch programs after the application has been approved, the Applicant will need to re-apply to the appropriate program and establish a new position in the Distributed Energy Resource Queue.
First Come, First Served
The Hawaiian Electric Companies' Distributed Energy Resource programs are available to all customers on a first come, first served basis.
The Distributed Energy Resource Queue
The Distributed Energy Resource Queue reserves capacity for your Distributed Energy Resource system on the circuit that serves your location. Placement in the queue occurs once your submitted application has passed the initial completeness review.
Your Project Completion Time Frame
After your application has been Conditionally Approved, to be fair to other customers who may be waiting to apply on circuits that already have a high amount of installed distributed generation, the Hawaiian Electric Companies' policy is that you must finish your project within an 12-month time frame for systems under 10 kW and 18-month time frame for systems >10kW. The time frame for completion begins from the date of your Conditional Approval. A one-time extension of 180 days may be requested in writing, but this must be sent during the last two months before your designated time frame expires. If you exceed all deadlines, your application will be cancelled and your reserved circuit capacity forfeited. You would then need to reapply and start at the beginning of the process.
*Please be aware that the application processes, including the queuing process, are subject to change without notice