Solar power keeps rising under new programs approved by PUC
Release Date: 3/4/2016
HONOLULU, March 4, 2016 - Customers are responding in growing numbers to new rooftop solar programs authorized by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. So far 350 applications for the new Grid-Supply program have been approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies. In addition, Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light Company have approved nearly 3,700 remaining applications for net energy metering since the program was closed for new applicants by the PUC in October 2015.
"It's great to see the momentum continuing," said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. "There was an initial adjustment period as everyone worked through the details for implementing these new programs. We've taken steps to address the challenges and applications are being received, reviewed, and approved daily."
To streamline the application process, the Companies have taken additional steps to work with customers and the solar industry, including:
- Sponsoring forums for solar contractors to discuss the new programs, requirements, and application procedures;
- Issuing step-by-step instructions for the new Grid-Supply contract in January 2016;
- Offering workshops (nine so far in 2016, with over 100 attendees) with the solar industry to explain the new Grid-Supply contract and forms;
- Multiple one-on-one discussions with contractors to address specific questions or concerns
Hawaii continues to lead the nation in rooftop PV. More than 77,000 customers of the Hawaiian Electric Companies -- approximately 17 percent of all customers -- have installed or have been approved to install PV. In 2015 alone, 26,000 PV systems were installed or approved. On Oahu, 32 percent of single family homes have rooftop PV installed or approved for installation.
Customers interested in rooftop PV can use WattPlan, a free online tool, to help them consider their options. WattPlan will help customers considering rooftop solar to estimate electric bill savings based on their electricity use, current rates, and available rebates and tax credits. Customers may also compare outright purchase to financing side-by-side to understand the long-term impact on household budgets.