Private rooftop solar increasing despite COVID-19 pandemic

Last week saw second highest application total this year

Release Date: 6/18/2020

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HONOLULU, June 18, 2020 – Rooftop solar applications and interconnections are increasing this year over last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, across Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory.

New applications totaled 126 for the week ending June 13, just short of the 136 for the week ending Jan. 18, 2020, highest this year to date. So far this year, 2,241 applications have been received, compared to 1,756 at the same point last year.

“We’re encouraged to see continued high levels of applications and completed interconnections, more than double over last year, giving our customers savings on their monthly electric bills and moving the whole state closer to our clean energy goals,” said Lani Shinsato, customer energy resources co-director for Hawaiian Electric.

“Like the solar industry, we are concerned this fluid situation may change due to the impact of COVID-19 so we are carefully monitoring new applications and working with the solar industry on improvements to smooth and speed the interconnection process,” she said.

For Oahu, including all rooftop solar programs:

  • In April 2020 there were 367 new interconnections and in May 2020 there were 470, for a two-month total of 837.
  • In April 2019 there were 133 new interconnections and in May 2019 there were 180, for a two-month total of 313.

Across the five-island service territory:

  • In April 2020 there were 452 new interconnections and in May 2020 there were 588, for a two-month total of 1,040.
  • In April 2019 there were 220 new interconnections and in May 2019 there were 325, for a two-month total of 545.

“We know that some of these totals represent contracts signed before the response to the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and we may see declines in the future,” Shinsato said.

“Still, we commend the solar industry for their ongoing work to serve customers during this difficult period and we are glad renewable progress continues across many fronts, including private, customer-sited renewables, often with energy storage. This represents not just renewable progress and savings for customers, but economic recovery and jobs.

“We will continue to collaborate with the solar industry to ensure future growth. Customers who are interested in going solar should visit our website to learn more and call their local solar contractor who will start the application process for them,” she said.

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