DER groups urge Hawaii - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  April 8, 2020

Groups urge Hawaiian regulators to lean on DERs to rebuild economy

Distributed energy resource groups in Hawaii sent a letter to the state’s Public Utilities Commission on April 3 urging regulators to speed up interconnection processes in an attempt to rebuild the Hawaiian economy following the COVID-19 crisis and ensure that projects continue to progress despite it.

The Distributed Energy Resources Council, Hawai'i PV Coalition, and Hawaii Solar Energy Association in their letter urged that measures be taken to allow customers to activate systems 25 kW or smaller upon installation, complete energy service upgrades within two weeks of application and conduct meter swaps within two weeks of request. It also urged that a requirement be put in place that Hawaiian Electric implement a six-month plan to rapidly expand the interconnection process, so as to minimize the detriment to the solar industry as employees are laid off and projects are delayed.

“We anticipate DER will be a critical contributor to Hawai’i’s economic resilience and eventual recovery from the coronavirus disruption, creating needed jobs and economic stimulus, helping Hawai’i residents reduce the high cost of electricity, and continuing our progress and momentum toward our clean energy goals,” the signees wrote in the letter. “But the existing solar industry must survive over the next six months to be able to assist with that recovery.”

The group released the letter in response to the Commission’s March 24 statement that they would prioritize reliable and affordable essential service and enable the energy sector to support Hawaii’s economic recovery after the crisis. On that day, the agency released a request for new proposals to ensure reliable service during the emergency and maintain progress toward clean energy goals, despite industry closures and moving to online services, Utility Dive reported.

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