Maui County reaches rooftop solar program limit

Hawaii: Ending Original Net-Metering Program

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Maui Electric Co. is holding off on approving new rooftop solar systems after announcing Wednesday that the county has reached the 5 MW limit for solar systems that can send power to its grid.

Starting next week, residents on Maui, Lanai and Molokai who want to install new solar power systems will have to buy batteries to hold any excess power generated by the solar panels. They won't be able to send power to the grid.

The previous policy allowed customers to send excess power to the grid and receive a credit, often lower their monthly bill to less than $20.

"These systems, sometimes consisting of dozens of panels, can export significantly more electricity to the grid than the household actually uses," the utility said in a Wednesday announcement. "As these large systems were installed, there was less room on the grid for additional systems."

Solar energy groups criticized the Maui utility and argued that the grid-supply system remained the "only functioning and viable option for customers to adopt rooftop solar."

"Nonetheless, the Hawaiian Electric utilities remain adamantly opposed to reasonable efforts to extend the cap or to create a customer-friendly wait list," the Hawaii Solar Energy Association said.

The Maui utility said residents can still purchase rooftop solar systems that don't export power to the island-wide grid and reduce their electric bills. Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service at Hawaiian Electric Co., said the battery systems, also known as "self-supply," are a good option for customers.

Last year, the state Public Utilities Commission put a 35 MW limit on the total amount of energy generated from the grid-supply program statewide and a 5 MW limit for Maui.

The state is set to revisit solar rules in October 2017.

"It's our hope that the PUC will act quickly to raise the grid-supply cap on Maui and throughout the state of Hawaii," said Robert Harris of the Alliance for Solar Choice.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now


Making DDoS Mitigation Part of Your Incident Response Plan: Critical Steps and Best Practices

Like a new virulent strain of flu, the impact of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is...

The Multi-Tax Challenge of Managing Excise Tax and Sales Tax

To be able to accurately calculate multiple tax types, companies must be prepared to continually ...

Operational Analytics in the Power Industry

Cloud computing, smart grids, and other technologies are changing transmission and distribution. ...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>

Archived Articles

PennEnergy Articles
2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

OGFJ Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Power Engineering Intl Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

Utility Products Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

HydroWorld Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

COSPP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013

ELP Articles
2011 | 2012 | 2013