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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Hawaii Solar Scammers Push for More Ratepayer, Taxpayer Handouts
By News Release @ 4:02 PM :: 5577 Views :: Energy, Environment

Hawaiian Sunblock: Solar Facing Unexpected Barriers Despite Low Cost

(Solar scammers are pushing for even more taxpayer and ratepayer handouts.  Here’s their latest blast of ‘research’.)

by John Farrell, ILSR

First in the U.S., Hawaii residents and businesses can install solar power – without incentives – for less than the cost of grid electricity. But as local Earthjustice lawyer Isaac Moriwake notes, “the gates of heaven do not open just because solar is cheap.” Instead, a number of unexpected barriers have kept the solar market from to its full potential or growing as quickly as it might. ILSR’s new report, Hawaiian Sunblock: Solar Facing Unexpected Barriers Despite Low Cost, explores these barriers and how Hawaii’s experience might provide valuable lessons as the cost of solar makes it competitive across the country.

Download the report [pdf] or read it on Kindle right now!

Limits to Solar Growth

Although the economics of solar suggest no end to its potential, (LOL!) there are a number of logistical and technical limitations that have become a concern:

·       Wiring and interconnection costs have meant unexpected costs for one-quarter of homeowners, for electrical upgrades, and nearly 90% of commercial solar projects, for interconnection studies.

·       Local government lacks the capacity to efficiently process a surge in permit applications to install solar.

Utilities have introduced two stumbling blocks for solar:

·       The “15% rule” (SEE NOTE BELOW--ed) limits distributed solar from providing more than 15% of electricity on local electric power lines based on somewhat arbitrary safety margins, requiring many potential producers to face the specter of a time-consuming and expensive interconnection study, and

·       “Curtailment,” a situation where the utility will turn off a solar array in the name of grid stability and refuse to pay for electricity generated.

State incentives have to adjust to the rapidly changing prices for solar and grid electricity to avoid being unnecessarily generous to solar power producers.

Hawaii Blazes the Trail

Hawaii may be first, but in the next decade 100 million Americans will live in metropolitan areas reaching solar grid parity. The lessons from Hawaii will provide useful context for policy makers from San Diego to New York City to Phoenix. Will cheap solar open the floodgates or will poor policies and reluctant utilities hold it back? The Aloha State may provide the answers.

---30---

NOTE: PUC Breaks 15% Limit on Solar Systems

 

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