Honolulu, Hawaii, issued 434 permits for rooftop solar PV systems this November, 40% fewer than in November 2015, Pacific Business News reports.
For the first 11 months of the year, 4,590 permits were issued by the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting, 32% fewer than the same time period last year, according to data collected by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar.
Solar installations also were down 23% on a cost basis, with a cumulative value of $218.4 million in 2016 compared with $283.5 million in 2015, according to the data.
Hawaii ended its net metering program last fall. In its place, customers were given two options: customer grid-supply and customer self-supply.
Grid supply customers can still export electricity to the grid, but not at retail net metering rates. Instead customers receive a fixed rate between $0.15/kWh and $0.28/kWh, depending on location.
Self-supply customers pay a fixed utility charge and can export a limited amount of energy to the grid.
The grid-supply option hit its caps earlier this year, leaving only the self-supply option with room to accept new customers.
The self-supply option was slower to take off, but as of November it appeared to be gaining traction.
But there is also a backlog of solar projects that could go into the now-capped grid-supply program, representing as much as 50 MW of additional solar capacity, according to Mangelsdorf.
“This is not a trivial figure,” Mangelsdorf says, noting that the total of installed net metered projects awaiting execution is about 300 MW.
Mangelsdorf is also associated with Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative, a not-for-profit electric cooperative that has been mentioned as a potential acquirer of Hawaiian Electric Light.