HECO clears PV interconnection queues in Maui, Hawaii Islands

Dive Brief:

  • Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), Hawaii’s dominant electricity provider, has approved all the 331 rooftop solar applications on Maui and the 336 applications on Hawaii Island that had been in an interconnection queue awaiting approval since at least October 2014.
  • The utility also promised to complete processing 90% of Oahu’s 2,749 pending applications for interconnection by the end of April. Under pressure from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, HECO promised in October to complete processing the interconnection applications this year.
  • Approval of interconnection to grid for the photovoltaic (PV) systems had been interrupted because, according to HECO, they are located in neighborhoods with high PV penetrations where adding more variable solar could threaten the local distribution system’s stability.

Dive Insight:

As part of HECO’s response to the PUC pressure to improve its interconnection process and eliminate the application backlog, it launched the web-based Integrated Interconnection Queues (IIQs) system.

The system shows applications from all distributed generation programs, including those for net energy metering and feed-in tariffs, according to a blogpost at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative (DGIC). The online applications show system size, circuit name, review status, and date of application receipt. This allows the utility to let customers track their queue position on their circuit

The Hawaii IIQs are the first public interconnection queues that cover all types of DG installations though the California investor-owned utilities have been publishing queue information on wholesale distribution-connected facilities for some time.

HECO’s IIQs add significant transparency to application processing but eliminate data on completed and withdrawn applications monthly. This keeps them from being useful in tracking projects over time to assess DG penetration levels and customer and utility trends. The Massachusetts interconnection data reporting procedure includes such information to help evaluate utility performance. 

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy Regulation & Policy
Top image credit: Photo Mojo Mike