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Hawaiian Electric Companies implement changes to help more customers add solar photovoltaic systems

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Companies are making procedures easier, faster and less expensive for customers seeking to add rooftop solar photovoltaic systems, while continuing to ensure safe and reliable service for all customers.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are changing the threshold so more small systems, 10 kilowatt and under, can be added without a potentially costly and time-consuming interconnection study. The new threshold for a possible interconnection study is 100 percent of the daytime minimum circuit load, increased from 75 percent. In addition, Hawaiian Electric is doing a limited number of studies on several representative circuits and will apply the results to as many projects as possible on similar circuits. Previously, each project requiring a study would have to go through its own separate study. This new approach will greatly reduce the number of studies needed and reduce costs to customers.

Hawaii Electric Light Company ask customers to contact them before initiating a solar project. Customers, or contractors on their behalf, should provide a name, address and proposed PV system size (in kilowatts) to the utilities by calling 969-0358 or emailing or emailing lvm@helcohi.com.

In this way, a customer or contractor can get the most up-to-date status of the circuit on which they propose to add a solar project. Depending on how much PV is on the circuit, the utility may perform a supplemental review at the utility’s expense to determine if a more extensive study is required. Customers or contractors must still submit and get approval for a completed net metering application to connect to the grid and get the financial benefits of net metering.

Solar installations in Hawaii have doubled yearly since 2008 and are on track to double or nearly so in 2013. No other utility in the nation has seen this dramatic growth. With more than 32,000 PV systems installed with a capacity of more than 240 megawatts interconnected, Hawaii utilities lead the nation in solar watts per customer and in the percentage of customers who have rooftop solar.