- The Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO) said notices will be mailed to an estimated 1,000 grid connected solar system owners without an interconnection approval to shut down their systems and apply for an approval from the utility.
- HECO is concerned that unapproved solar systems with inadequate power electronics to manage the flow of electrons to-and-from a grid designed only for one-way flow to customers could cause technical problems that put the safe, reliable delivery of electricity at risk.
- HECO said if the customers identified fail to comply with the mailed request, their systems will be locked out of the grid, though the customers will continue to receive electricity from the utility.
HECO will begin detecting what HSEA calls “rogue” systems through field checks of customers who have noticeable, unexplained bill changes.
Rogue systems create unfair competition for installers who follow HECO’s rules and have to wait nine months for interconnection approval, installers argue.
Underlying this trouble is a larger problem: Some 4,400 solar system installation applications are awaiting approval and the installation process, which took only weeks before HECO made the approval a pre-requisite for grid interconnection, is now taking up to nine months.
Installers say the problems slowing interconnections can be resolved in minutes and are primarily the result of HECO’s failure to add new technology that would streamline the process. HECO says slowed interconnections are the result of volume far beyond what anyone in the solar industry has ever tried to manage.
HECO’s just filed integrated resource plan (IRP) promises to streamline the interconnection process.