by Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine
On September 6, 2013, HECO announced a change to its rules for connecting new PV systems to the electricity grid. You may have seen news coverage about these changes earlier this week on Hawaii News Now, KHON, or KITV after State legislators called HECO representatives and members of the solar PV industry to the Capitol to demand answers for these sudden changes to electricity customers.
Some customers will have to undergo additional connection studies to determine if they can safely connect their PV systems to the electric grid. HECO is also in the process of conducting four circuit studies island-wide, including two studies on the Leeward Coast, to identify additional circuit upgrades needed to allow customers to connect their PV systems to the grid. If you are considering installing solar PV, please see instructions below to check your address and determine if you are on an affected circuit. With the record growth in solar PV installations in each year since 2008, I am deeply disappointed that HECO did not plan for these anticipated changes sooner.
For those of you who have installed a system but have not been able to connect to the grid, or are planning to install a PV system on your home, I understand your frustration and concern. It is my hope that HECO and the solar industry learn from customers’ recent experiences and moving forward, plan for growth in a more open and transparent way. I am tracking these developments and meeting with City officials to communicate these important changes so that customers willing to make a sustainable decision for their homes and businesses will have the information needed to make the best choice.
Installing a Solar PV System? Check with HECO first:
If you, a member of your family or a friend are thinking about installing a PV system (excluding solar water heaters), or recently had one installed, you will want to contact HECO's Net Energy Metering division at 543-4760 or check your ability to connect online by following these steps below.
(I recommend that you print these instructions as you search for your address following these step-by-step instructions.):
1. Click here.
2. Enter in the (first two digits only of your) STREET ADDRESS, STREET NAME and ZIP CODE
3. Click search.
4. Identify your street address.
5. There are 2 columns: The first column on the left “Pen (Penetration) (%) Range by Circuit Daytime Min (Minimum)” refers to circuits with installed PV up to and greater than 100% of daytime minimum load (DML). Daytime is defined as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If your PV system will be 10kW or smaller and the penetration % is at or above 100% (e.g. ’75-100’), you must contact HECO’s Net Energy Metering division at 543-4760 to learn what will be required for you to connect your installed or planned solar PV system to the grid.
*Note: HECO is currently conducting studies on four circuits island-wide to determine safety updates needed. Until these studies are completed, there may be delays for customers who have a penetration % above 100%.
Solar PV Briefing News Coverage:
To see news coverage of Monday’s Informational Briefing that was held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and the House Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, please click on the following links: