The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has issued an order approving feed-in tariffs (FIT) for the Hawaiian Electric Companies (Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Company, and Maui Electric Company) for renewable energy generators of up to 500 kW in size, to facilitate the acquisition and development of renewable energy in Hawaii. Because Hawaii is the most fossil fuel dependent state, this ruling helps move the state toward its goal of receiving 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Now homeowners and commercial property owners who install solar panels in Hawaii will get paid for any excess electricity they generate. Those who sign up and participate in the program will get paid 21.8 cents for each kilowatt hour (kWh) that is fed back into the electric grid. Since the going rate for residential electricity is higher on many parts of the islands, the feed-in tariff will really be best suited to homeowners — and businesses — that have solar energy systems that produce more electricity than they use on an annual basis. “We are pleased to launch the FIT program for the Hawaiian Electric Companies,” said Commission Chairman Carlito P. Caliboso. “The predictability and certainty that FITs provide to renewable energy developers should incent future renewable projects and ultimately advance the State’s efforts to wean itself off of imported fossil fuel.”
Hawaii’s new solar incentive plan is also expected to streamline solar project development and financing. The plan sets pricing, terms and conditions, all of which, it’s expected, will help make it easier to propose, close and complete solar installations.