- Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) asked state regulators this week to reduce the rate at which new rooftop solar owners are reimbursed for the solar energy-generated electricity their net energy metered (NEM) systems send to the grid. HECO also wants to increase the minimum monthly bill for new solar owners.
- The utility wants to cut the reimbursement on Oahu from $0.295 per kWh to $0.18 cents per kWh, from $0.359 per kWh to $0.225 per kWh for Hawaii Island customers, and from $0.351 per kWh to $0.231 per kWh for Maui customers. The premium is still well above the approximately $0.12 per kWh HECO says it costs to generate electricity.
- HECO also wants the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to up the minimum monthly bill from $17 on Oahu, $18 on Maui, and $20.50 on Hawaii Island to $25 for new residential solar owners on all islands. The utility says the increases are needed to prevent the annual shift of about $53 million in grid operations and maintenance costs to customers who do not own solar.
The new rates and minimum bill would only apply to new solar customers. NEM reimbursement and the minimum monthly bill would remain at their present levels for current customers.
HECO argues the new rate structure would help it reach its targets of tripling the amount of rooftop solar and obtaining 67% of its power from renewables by 2030 and help it meet the state’s new 100% renewables by 2045 mandate.
The utility also wants regulators to up technical standards for advanced inverters, allow new options for solar plus storage systems, direct rooftop solar installations to the best locations, and streamline the solar interconnection process. It is also pushing for the PUC to institute a pilot time-of-use rate program to drive customers’ electricity use down during peak demand periods and increase use when solar output is highest.