- Kauai Island Utility Cooperative proposed two new rooftop solar options the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission that would not compensate customers for exporting excess energy during peak sunshine hours.
- Absent new load, KIUC says it does not need additional daytime generation. One of the new programs includes no export, and another requires a battery and could be used to export in times of high need.
- The "Customer Self-Supply" and "Smart Export," options would replace the Non-Export and Export options
currently reflected in cooperatives rates. Highest rates would be paid for energy exported during evening peak times.
KIUC has about 2,700 members with rooftop solar on their homes and businesses, amounting to about 20 MW of capacity. At least for daytime needs, the cooperative says that is enough.
“Changes in policy are necessary due to the extremely high penetration of solar resources during daylight hours,” KIUC President and CEO David Bissell said in a statement. “Daytime export is no longer feasible when there isn’t adequate load to support it."
But the proposals do include an export option for those with storage, and Bissell said "this proposal could pave the way for more export in a way that benefits all KIUC members and the grid as a whole.”
Customer Self-Supply would allow a member to install panels and/or a battery, but they would agree not to export any amount of energy except for "inadvertent" volumes. Under that option, the cooperative stressed, a member "will not receive utility compensation for any amount of energy export, including small amounts of energy export that may momentarily or inadvertently occur."
The Smart Export option requires battery storage and would allow the member to export, but they will be compensated only at times when "exported energy has value to the utility and, as such, will be compensated
according to the value of the energy at the time of export."
Maximum benefits would be available to members who export during evening peak usage, the cooperative said.The proposal would also substantially grandfather the current export energy status of legacy customers for as long as they continue to use their existing systems.
The co-op's proposal is similar to the interim compensation policies for new rooftop solar customers. In 2015, Hawaii regulators eliminated the state's net metering policy in favor of two new interim tariffs until they craft a more permanent solution.
The self-supply option — a non-export option — allows a limited amount of inadvertent energy exportation but sets a minimum bill. The grid-supply option compensates customers at a fixed rate between $0.15/kWh to $0.28/kWh, which is lower than the retail rate, and set a cap for both.