A press release from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission just announced a decision to approve a couple of programs that should be a boon to Hawaii consumers who are interested in installing sustainable energy solutions – rooftop photovoltaic (solar) systems and battery storage. They have also clarified what is possible for customers who have existing photo voltaic systems.
The press release includes the specifics. Here’s a summary.
- New ‘Smart Export’ program – This allows for a rooftop photovoltaic and battery storage system. The system will allow for storage of energy during the day. During the evening, the customer’s system can feed power back to the grid for a monetary credit on their electric bill. The rate for Hawaii Island will be 11 cents.
- New Controllable Customer Grid Supply program – This allows for a rooftop photovoltaic – only system (no battery). The system can export power to the grid during the day but HELCO will control the amount that is exported to maintain grid stability. Customers will receive a monetary credit for the exported electricity (10.55 cents for Hawaii Island).
- Existing Systems
- Customers who are on the original Customer Grid Supply (CGS) program will be able to maintain their ‘current bill rate for the next five years’.
- Existing Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer can add to their systems! They can add ‘non-export’ systems to retain the NEM program status. I suspect that this will mean the addition of storage (or demand) that will not result in a net increase in the export of energy to the grid.
- “Authorizes activation of new “advanced inverter” functions in PV and storage systems – I expect that this is enabled with new inverter technology that will allow better management of the energy that is exported to the grid by customers.
While the implications are not fully clear, these decisions offer promise for customers seeking to transition to rooftop solar, and for the local solar energy industry. This looks like a very positive development for Hawaii.
Visit the Hawaii PUC website for more information.