Solar power reached a milestone in Hawaiʻi on Tuesday when Hawaiian Electrical Company announced an agreement to push forward a new solar program that will enable more efficient connection to the state’s electrical grid.
Earthjustice is representing the Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association, the statewide solar industry association, in proceedings before the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission regarding the state electric utilities' proposed framework for energy planning, which will direct state energy development and use for decades to come. Earthjustice is seeking to ensure that the final approved framework best serves the public interest in maximum growth and distribution of clean energy.
Utilities nationwide traditionally take an unwelcoming approach to connecting rooftop solar and other on-site generation. They apply conservative blanket limits on renewable energy fed into local circuits (generally 15 percent of peak load), beyond which they may require a customer wanting to install solar panels to pay for a costly and time-consuming study of the potential impacts on their circuits.
As Hawaiʻi reaches higher levels of rooftop solar, this has led to logjams of studies that burden the utilities while stalling or blocking new rooftop hookups. The Hawaiʻi utilities’ new proactive approach aims to get ahead of such holdups, by having the utility independently track and plan for rooftop solar growth so that when a customer asks to hook up a system, the utility can be ready.
Hawaiʻi is seeing a boom in rooftop solar, with year-over-year growth over the last several years
Clean energy future—you hear the term a lot these days. Can we really get there? The answer is coming into focus in several places in the U.S. and it’s a resounding yes!
Hawaiʻi is charging ahead with rooftop solar energy systems. Just this week we are getting word that a major obstacle to more rooftop installation there has been resolved. Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake emerged after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations to announce a deal whereby Hawaiʻi’s main electric utility company, known as HECO, will devote resources over the next two years to smooth the way for more rooftop solar.