- A new requirement in Hawaii that customers get utility permission before installing solar panels and possibly pay for distribution system upgrades hints at the policy battles expected around the U.S. over rooftop solar.
- The rule on Oahu took effect three months ago and has hurt the solar business, according to a solar installer. Residential solar permits are being issued at half the rate they were earlier this year.
- Hawaiian Electric Co. is concerned that the roughly 200 MW of photovoltaic capacity on Oahu is straining its system.
We have seen this debate in Arizona and it is currently pending in Colorado. In Hawaii, the utility and solar developers are looking at monitoring and forecasting tools to help manage the system. They are also exploring adding energy storage capacity.
"I see us as really the Petri dish out here in Hawaii," Leslie Cole-Brooks, Hawaii Solar Energy Association executive director, told Reuters. "Everyone is going to get to this point."