HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - 15-hundred people from more than 14 different countries are in Hawaii this week on a mission to change the way we energize our lives.
The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo kicked off with the state awarding more than $7 million dollars in grants.
The biggest chunk of change will be used to battle the biggest problem with photovoltaic panels or PV's.
It's the 15-percent rule.
"People trying to put PV on their house are running into the barrier that they cannot put PV on without doing an interconnection study to examine what the impact of additional PV on the grid is, because utilities are reaching their limit of the 15% rule" said the director of the UH Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, Dr. Richard Rocheleau.
Rocheleau and his team at UH will get $ 6.1 million. They'll work to develop state of the art PV inverters which in turn,
"Would help that so additional homes can put PV on without the additional cost of doing the integration study" said Rocheleau.
But while Dr. Rocheleau is doing his part the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism is getting $700-thousand dollars. Most of it will be used to study problems like the 15-percent rule.
Estrella Seese of DBEDT says, "Why 15 percent? What's the basis of that? The 15 percent is adopted by the utilities saying it's a standard use by mainland utilities but does it apply here?"
And another $300-thousand will go to UH Maui college to expand the use of electric vehicles.
They'll target visitors, 80-percent of whom rent vehicles.
So rental companies will provide more EV's and hotels will build charging stations.
"It's small enough so that the visitors that come and rent cars can go to Kaanapali, can go to Wailea, and be comfortable traveling those distances, Paia, Makaaao all the central areas of Maui will be accessible through these Electric Vehicles" says Clyde Sakamoto, Chancellor of UH Maui College.
Once an infrastructure is built for rental vehicles, it's easier to build on that, making it more accessible to the general public.