Rooftop Solar Installations Surge in 2013
Rooftop solar power systems saw another strong surge in 2013, Hawaiian Electric Companies said today.
A total of 17,609 systems were installed last year, adding more than 129 megawatts of electricity to the grids of Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
That represented a 39% increase from solar installations in 2012.
As of the end of 2013, solar photovoltaic systems had a total capacity of 300 megawatts for HECO’s three utility grids.
That meant the three grids saw a combined 75% increase in solar capacity in a single year.
Nearly all of those are participating in the net-metering program, in which customers receive retail credit for the power they produce, offsetting the cost of electricity used at night or on cloudy days.
More than 70% of the rooftop systems are located on Oahu, representing 10% of Hawaiian Electric’s customers.
Maui Electric has the second highest percentage at 8%, while 7% of Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s customers on the Big Island have photovoltaic systems.
Kauai is separate from the HECO network and is served by an independent power cooperative.
HECO said the pace of installation growth slowed in the fourth quarter last year, as rooftop systems’ contributions on more distribution circuits exceeded 100% of the daytime minimum load. That is the threshold for the trigger of interconnection studies as well as the possible need for safety upgrades before additional systems can be added.