The Maui News - Hawaiian Electric Co. last week eased a costly and time-consuming hurdle to installation of home photovoltaic systems by raising the PV threshold on interconnection studies on a circuit and by allowing some of those installing PV to utilize a limited number of studies that HECO is doing.
"This new approach will greatly reduce the number of studies needed and reduce costs to customers," a HECO news release said.
Hawaiian Electric is changing the PV threshold for an interconnection study--which can cost thousands of dollars--for a residential-size 10 kilowatt and smaller PV system to 100 percent of the daytime minimum circuit load. That's an increase from the current 75 percent.
In addition, HECO and subsidiaries Maui Electric Company and Hawai'i Electric Light Co. are doing a limited number of studies on several representative circuits and will apply the results to as many projects as possible on similar circuits. Previously, each project requiring a study would have had to go through its own separate study.
The studies are meant to ensure that the circuit can handle the additional PV, which is an intermittent power source.
HECO advises those considering installing rooftop PV systems to contact the utility before signing a contract or beginning installation. This way, a customer or contractor can get the up-to-date status of the circuit. Depending on how much PV is on the circuit, the utility may perform a supplemental review at the utility's expense to determine if a more extensive study is required, HECO said.
Customers or contractors must still submit and get approval for a completed net metering application to connect to the grid and get the financial benefits of net metering, HECO said.
Customers or contractors on their behalf should provide a name, address and proposed PV system size in kilowatts to MECO by calling 871-8461, ext. 2445.