Throngs urge Hawaii lawmakers to regulate solar

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - About 20 people testified their support, some while fighting back tears, for a bill that could lead Hawaii's electric utilities to better accommodate homeowners who make their own solar energy.

Impassioned power customers and an out-of-work solar panel installer urged lawmakers to push Hawaii's utilities to set out better guidelines for incorporating solar into the state's power grid. Close to 200 people offered support in writing.

Many directed their frustration at Hawaiian Electric, or HECO, which they said has capriciously kept them from connecting their solar installations to the grid.

One homeowner said HECO has not allowed him to connect the system he paid for with a $35,000 loan. William Walker of Ewa Beach told lawmakers the utility "can't begin to understand" his frustration.

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