East Hawaii News

PUC Approves PV Programs, Ends Net Metering

October 13, 2015, 5:16 PM HST
* Updated October 13, 5:17 PM
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Two new rooftop PV programs were approved Tuesday by the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission. The programs will allow customers of the Hawaiian Electric Light companies to take advantage of new energy storage technology.

PUC’s decision is the first phase of its efforts to develop long-term technical and policy solutions that will support the growth of rooftop PV in the state, according to Hawaiian Electric officials.

“We appreciate the PUC’s thorough review of the complex issues that need to be balanced,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We see solar power as an important part of the diverse set of renewable energy solutions needed to help lower customer bills and meet Hawai‘i’s goal of a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045.”

The programs, Grid Supply and Self Supply, will be offered to Hawai’i Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaiian Electric customers installing traditional rooftop PV systems and systems with emerging energy-storage technologies.

Grid Supply provides rooftop PV customers on Oahu and the Big Island with credits on their electric bills for excess electricity sent to the grid at a fixed rate of approximately 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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Customers on Maui would be credited at approximately 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, Molokai at approximately 24 cents per kilowatt-hour, and Lanai at approximately 28 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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Self Supply is designed for customers with rooftop PV systems and energy storage, such as batteries. It provides for an expedited review and approval of applications in areas with high levels of PV.

To assist with fixed costs of providing the service to PV customers who remain connected to the grid for continuous service, even when their PV systems are not producing energy, new system owners will pay a minimum monthly bill of $25.

These new options, according to PUC, will replace the Net Energy Metering program. Those who have a current NEM agreement, along with those who have pending applications submitted before Oct. 13, will continue under the NEM program.

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Customers currently under NEM who want to install more PV panels or modify their systems are required to transition to either the new Grid Supply or Self Supply programs.

The PUC also agreed to allow Hawaiian Electric Companies to submit a revised time-of-use rate proposal to further expand option for customers.

“It is abundantly clear that distributed energy resources can provide benefits to Hawai‘i. 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 PUC said. “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.”

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