- HECO has developed a plan to clear the backlog of customers awaiting approval to interconnect their rooftop solar systems in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar already installed. The plan aims to have all of the more than 5,000 customers waiting for interconnection to be connected by the end of 2015.
- In a letter to Hawaii regulators, HECO proposes that by April 2015 customers currently awaiting interconnection under the net energy metering program to neighborhood circuits with high levels of installed PV will be approved for interconnection after meeting certain conditions.
- HECO said that in about 250 cases may call for more significant equipment upgrades, but the utility said it anticipates they will be approved for interconnection no later than December 2015.
So far this year the Hawaiian Electric Companies have approved about 7,500 applications from customers to interconnect their rooftop solar systems to the grid, and the surge in requests is causing a strain on the grid. On Oahu that includes approximately 2,700 customers who are on circuits over 120% daytime minimum load. HECO said those applications would be approved over the coming months as this plan is implemented.
Similar approval plans will go into effect for Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light with each company having about 330 customers awaiting approvals on circuits with high amounts of installed PV.
"We have been working diligently with inverter manufacturers, other national technical experts, and the solar industry to address potential safety and reliability issues which no other utility in the nation has yet faced," said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. "Applying results of recent inverter testing, over the next five months we expect that we'll be able to approve almost all of the customers who have been waiting for interconnection on these high solar circuits."