Customer Renewable Programs
Click the button below to view our weekly updated list of qualified advanced inverter equipment for our customer renewable generation programs.
All private rooftop solar systems use inverters to convert the electricity produced by the solar array from direct current (DC) to the alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home, school or business. Advanced inverters do the same thing, but they also have the capability to manage the flow of electricity to the grid depending on real-time grid conditions.
Unlike the older generation of inverters that send energy to the grid as it's converted without any control, new and next-generation inverters control the flow at all times providing grid support functionality that benefits all customers.
We've been working with solar equipment manufacturers and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) to determine how advanced inverters can help Hawaii customers to realize the full potential of our solar resources. Based on studies recently completed by NREL, activating certain advanced inverter functions address the safety and reliability issues associated with most systems if the voltage interconnection concern is on a secondary system. Voltage issues on the primary systems are best resolved through utility upgrades. Please refer to our Locational Value Map for more information about the primary system in your area.
In almost all cases, activating these grid support functions has no noticeable impacts on the private rooftop solar system's performance. Disruptions in energy production may occur with rooftop solar systems in areas with pre-existing high voltage conditions. The NREL study showed an average annual reduced production of less than 1% for almost all customers (about 97% of systems), while a relative few (about 3% of systems) could experience an average of up to 5% of reduced annual energy production.
It is important to note that the actual performance of a private rooftop solar system with these functions activated cannot be predicted. Different factors such as solar irradiance, the orientation of your rooftop, the location where your system will be installed, and the degree of pre-existing high voltage conditions can all affect how your system will ultimately perform.
NREL and the Hawaiian Electric Companies are continuing to evaluate the benefits of this new technology. A new pilot-study will open in 2018 to help verify the safety and reliability benefits of new technology and to make any necessary improvements or recommendations as we add more smart private rooftop solar systems to our grid.
Based on the studies conducted to date, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission now requires all new private rooftop solar systems to incorporate advanced inverter technology with specific grid support features activated. Additional grid-support functionality may be required as a condition for expedited approval in specific situations although customers still have the option of choosing to proceed with a utility study or to change programs.
The Hawaiian Electric Companies maintain a list of qualified inverters that meet the criteria for performing the necessary functions. If your chosen inverter is not on this list, we encourage you to check with the manufacturer to see if the manufacturer plans to certify the equipment for use in Hawaii.
All qualified advanced inverters must be formally certified to UL 1741 Supplement A, using the applicable Companies' Source Requirements Document ("SRD"), and are also required to meet the Companies' Grid Support Utility Interactive ("GSUI") Inverter functions in the Companies' Rule No. 14H, effective February 20, 2018. Click here for instructions and links to the current SRD and qualification forms needed to be submitted to Hawaiian Electric.