HECO reports record PV approvals, but customers continue to wait

Local News

Solar energy in Hawaii continues to outshine many places on the mainland.

Hawaiian Electric said Thursday it approved 15,000 rooftop solar photovoltaic applications in less than a year.

That’s nearly 70,000 (69,330) approved statewide, including 46,814 on Oahu, 11,953 in Maui County and 10,563 on Hawaii Island.

The record pace means good news for some solar companies, including Hawaii Energy Connection, which has seen a boost in business.

“I think early in the year we were talking about we were doing an installation a day, keeping some crews busy, just doing maintenance work, and we are full capacity at our crews right now and booked out a month,” said Chris DeBone with Hawaii Energy Connection.

Although those approvals are good for those customers and some solar companies, at least one lawmaker has a big concern.

“What happens next and what’s it going to mean for all the folks who are out there right now, who really, really want to invest in solar to save money, but are stuck in a line and still can’t get it,” said Rep. Chris Lee, (D) chair of the House Energy Committee.

Lee still worries about NextEra’s agenda when they take over.

“We’re hearing that some people are still waiting and some have waited a year. What do you say to that?” KHON2 asked.

“We appreciate their patience and their understanding as we work through these issues. We have to make sure we can ensure safe, reliable service for everyone,” said HECO spokesman Darren Pai.

Last year, the utility worked with solar companies to improve PV systems so they can work better with the grid, which helped with more approvals.

“As more and more customers come onto the system with rooftop PV systems, that just means we have to keep looking at it, keep looking at technical solutions,” Pai said.

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