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Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. Message Board

  • cyberplanner cyberplanner May 14, 2014 10:13 PM Flag

    Rooftop solar generator cost way too bang for the buck



    There’s a boom in solar photovoltaic construction on Kauaʻi that’s helping residents and businesses save money while contributing to our efforts to generate more power with renewable energy.

    But in the rush to sell PV systems, some contractors are skipping over the important first step. Before installing a system, rules established by the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission require customers to submit an interconnection request application to KIUC for an engineering review.

    This step is extremely important and ensures that the PV system can be safely and reliably tied into the utility grid. This step also allows us to tell you whether you will have to pay any interconnection costs, as well as whether you may be able to reduce your costs.

    For example, a large PV system may require us to replace an existing transformer with a larger one to handle the increase in power that will run through it. Depending on the distance to the nearest transformer pole, the costs charged to the customer could be $10,000 or more.

    If you talk to us first, we can suggest options, like changing the size of your system so a transformer upgrade isn’t necessary.

    A PV system is a large, long-term financial investment and it’s important to understand your options and obligations before deciding.

    If you plan to oversize your system so you can sell the excess power to KIUC, you should also know there’s a limit to how much PV our system can take. So there’s no guarantee that we’ll always be able to buy all of your power. And under the program known as Schedule Q, the price we pay for your power will vary and may drop significantly as more renewables come online.

    So before your contractor starts work, make sure they’ve submitted your interconnection request application to KIUC and that the engineering review has been completed.

    And make sure you understand the rules for selling your excess power.

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