Maui Business

Solar Application Backlog Plan Unveiled: 330 on Maui Awaiting Approval

November 4, 2014, 8:40 AM HST
* Updated November 4, 10:34 AM
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Solar array. File photo Wendy Osher / Maui Now.

Solar array, South Maui. File photo Wendy Osher / Maui Now.

By Maui Now Staff

The Hawaiian Electric Companies announced a plan to clear the backlog of customers awaiting approval to interconnect their rooftop solar systems in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar already installed.

Company officials say they expect to be able to approve almost all of the customers who have been waiting for interconnection on these high solar circuits within the next five months.

According to Maui Electric Company, there are an estimated 330 customers on Maui awaiting approvals on circuits with high amounts of installed PV.   As of September 2014, company officials said 10% of Maui Electric customers had rooftop solar.

Under the plan, neighborhood circuits with high levels of installed PV include those with a PV capacity over 120% of daytime minimum load.

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In order to be approved for interconnection, customers must meet the following conditions outlined by HECO:

  1. “Their PV systems must use inverter models that meet stricter settings for preventing transient overvoltage, or rapid voltage spikes, that can endanger customers, their appliances and utility equipment. Some inverter models are now being tested. Other models may be certified as meeting the new requirements using tests approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies. Testing protocols are being provided to inverter manufacturers.”
  2. “Their PV systems must use inverter models capable of complying with Hawaiian Electric specifications to “ride through” possible unstable frequency and voltage conditions during emergencies on the island-wide electric grid. Once inverter models have been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), customers and their solar contractors or inverter manufacturers must reset inverters to these new settings. In the meantime, they must use recently approved interim settings.”
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According to HECO, there are an estimated 48,000 customers in the state that already have rooftop solar.

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