- Leading rooftop solar developer SolarCity rolled out a new product aimed at Hawaii's new Customer Self-Supply program (CSS) which includes photovoltaic panels, Tesla battery storage, Nest Smart thermostat, a Steffes smart electric heater and a hardware controller, Greentech Media reports.
- Hawaii's CSS program is one option offered to new distributed solar owners by the state Public Utilities Commission after they approved a policy that terminated their net metering program.
- The CSS option allows almost no export of excess energy to the grid, making the SolarCity product appealing to new adopters who want to maximize onsite use of the solar their systems generate.
Hawaii's decision to eliminate their net metering program due to high distributed generation penetration and replace it with other options opened to the door to SolarCity's new offering that could revamp how distributed solar users consume and control their electricity.
One option, the Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) credits surplus power exported to the grid at about half the retail rate for the next two years, and is capped at 25 MW for Oahu and 5 MW for Maui and the Big Island.
But the CSS program only allows for unintended export to the grid with a minimum of $25, while small commercial customers will have a $50 minimum bill. Mark Dyson, senior associate at Rocky Mountain Institute, recently told Utility Dive that new solar owners are likely to get no more than half the solar benefit they would have received under net metering under either of the new programs.
SolarCity's combination of smart technology, including smart thermostats and storage, will allow those under the CSS program to use more of their electricity onsite.
The smart technologies incorporated by SolarCity's new product allows for demand flexibility, and, as a consequence, solar owners can use 90% of their onsite solar generation. “They can save 33% on their electricity bill," Dyson wrote, which amounts to "nearly 80% of the savings that the old NEM arrangement offered."
John Yoshimura, director of government affairs at SolarCity, told GTM that "You can control the use of your home-generated electricity. It's designed to heat your hot water at times when you've got ample sun during the day, and it's also designed to cool your home during the day when you have a lot of sun and maybe not as much load from your home."
The SolarCity product can be leased for $0.26/kWh or purchased for $4.50/watt.