Report gives Hawaii mixed report card for solar - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Report gives Hawaii mixed report card for solar

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A national report applauds the wide adoption of photovoltaic systems in the islands, but criticized its decision to do away with net metering.

The new report by the Independent Renewable Energy Council, which works to expand consumer access to green energy, gave Hawaii an "A" for interconnection.

Hawaiian Electric Co. spokesman Darren Pai said the grade demonstrates how widespread solar has become.

“With more than 73,000 approved rooftop PV systems, Hawaii leads the nation in supporting customers who want to install solar power," Pai said. "More than 14 percent of our residential customers have rooftop PV, more than 20 times the national average. On Oahu, 32 percent of single family homes have been approved for PV."

But Hawaii got an "F" for net metering, which it moved away from in a decision last year.

And solar proponents say the report comes as HECO is dragging its feet on approving new solar applications.

"It's been three months, and no application has been approved to date," said Robert Harris, of the Alliance for Solar Choice. "Hawaii is fast becoming one of the most anti solar states in the country."

Dave Thompson, of Alternate Energy Hawaii, also raised concerns about HECO's application process.

“They've been moving the goal posts as far as the amount of documents required," Thompson said.

He added that he hasn't seen a single approval since October, when the Public Utilities Commission decided to end net metering.

Hawaii News Now asked HECO if it was true that no PV applications have been approved since October.

In a statement, HECO said, “The IREC report's net energy metering grade is focused narrowly on only one type of program. As we work toward the state's clean energy goals, it's clear that in Hawaii we will need a variety of programs and policies to ensure rooftop solar can grow sustainably."

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