Frequently Asked Questions
Are smart meters accurate?
Yes. Since smart meters have remote meter read capabilities, a meter reader is no longer needed to manually read the meter, thus, eliminating the potential for human error. To further ensure accuracy, we have chosen smart meters with proven technology in real-world smart grid deployments. The meters meet the American National Standard for Physical Aspects of Watt-hour Meters and are tested for accuracy.
Why was the NEM program closed?
In the order issued by the Public Utilities Commission, the commission stated, "It is abundantly clear that distributed energy resources can provide benefits to Hawaii. It is also clear, for both technical and economic reasons, that the policies established more than a decade ago must be adapted to address the reality of distributed energy resources as they exist today - and as they are likely to develop in the near future. The challenge facing the State now is ensuring that DER continues to scale in a way that it benefits all customers as each utility advances towards 100% renewable energy."
The Public Utilities Commission, Hawaiian Electric Companies, and other stakeholders in the Solar Industry worked together to put forth a plan that would address both technical and economic problems with Net Energy Metering as the program grew in size. Recognizing that Net Energy Metering had accomplished the task of promoting clean, renewable energy to the public, two new programs, Customer Grid-Supply and Customer Self-Supply were created to replace Net Energy Metering.
Since the NEM program closed, will I be forced to enroll in one of the new programs?
Customers with an executed or pending NEM agreement will only be required to enroll in a different program if they wish to install a larger system than previously approved by Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, or Hawai‘i Electric Light. Change in ownership, contractor or even PV system equipment will not affect your approval as long as the rated system size does not increase.
How do I check the status of my application?
The status of all agreements is made publicly available on our website, www.hawaiianelectric.com/IIQ. The Integrated Interconnection Queue is updated periodically, so check back from time to time. For detailed information, your utility can be reached by phone or email as listed on the Net Energy Metering page under "Contact Us".
My system is installed, why isn’t my agreement executed yet?
The agreement is endorsed by your utility after the system is conditionally approved, installed and required post-installation documentation is submitted and accepted. Once the installation of the NEM system is complete, a validation packet must be submitted to your utility to finalize the NEM process. The ‘Validation Packet' consists of the Validation Cover Form and all relevant and required documentation to ensure your PV system has met the requirements explained in the Conditional Approval letter. Submission of the Validation Packet is typically completed and submitted by the solar contractor on behalf of the customer. The purpose of this packet is to provide the utility with proof that the system has been properly installed, and that the inverters meet utility standards.
What are TrOV Mitigation and Ride-Through settings and why are they important?
As the utility approves more and more DER systems for interconnection, the potential for hazardous situations increase with each approval. To minimize and eliminate these potential risks, the utility now requires that all NEM systems use inverters that are capable of implementing TrOV mitigation and Ride-Through settings to mitigate individual NEM system's negative impact on the utility's electric grid. These voltage and frequency settings ensure the inverters will help to support safer and more reliable electric service for all customers. A list of the Qualified Legacy Inverters for the NEM program can be found on our website.
Will the Utility inspect my PV system?
Inspections of DER systems are done at the utility's discretion. Your utility may require an inspection to be completed by Company personnel, however, in many instances photographs will suffice as an alternative.
I want to change contractors, but I've already submitted my application. What do I do?
A revised application is required whenever a change is made to an application, such as a change in contractor or system information. A change in your contractor does not affect the status of your NEM agreement. However, any increase in rated system capacity is not allowed and would require you to apply for one of the new interconnection programs, and forfeit your NEM application. Your new contractor should assist you in submitting the relevant documentation.
I am the new property owner for premises with a PV system, what do I need to do?
If there has been a change of ownership for the premise, whether through sale of the home or simply a change of title (i.e. from one family member to another) please contact the DER team for the next steps in completing the application process. Please have proof of ownership readily accessible in the form of HUD statement, deed, or City and County records. If the sale of the home is not yet finalized, please wait until the transaction is complete and these documents are available before contacting the NEM team.
Where can I find out more information about the NEM billing process?
For a detailed and comprehensive explanation of NEM billing, please review the Guide to Net Energy Metering.