ORIGINAL REPORTING: Smart sharing: Hawaii debates first TOU community solar proposal
Smart sharing: Sun-saturated Hawaii debates first TOU community solar proposal; Crediting community solar users depending on time of day could open new markets for storage and help optimize the grid, PUC staff says
Herman K. Trabish, August 11, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Hawaii continues to work toward implementation of this groundbreaking idea.
In June 2015, Hawaii’s Legislature passed a law ordering regulators to design and implement a community-based renewable energy program (CBRE) to help it meet its 100% renewables by 2045 mandate. Under the bill, electric utilities in Hawaii must work with stakeholders to develop a program and tariffs opening up access to renewables regardless of location. Hawaii’s investor-owned utility, the Hawaiian Electric Companies (HECO), filed its CBRE plan in October 2015, but the staff of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission found multiple issues. The proposal included cost calculations and flat bill credits to customers that limited program flexibility and did not include the best market signals, the commissioners said.
The PUC staff released an alternative proposal that included the first U.S. use of time-of-use (TOU) rates for a community solar program. The filing proposed three credit rate caps for the following time periods: Mid-Day, On-Peak, and Off-Peak. Generation sent to the grid at peak demand periods will be more highly compensated. The market-based framework, which won support from a broad group of solar and environmental advocates, seeks to set price signals for a full range of community-based project sizes and types. The intent is to give third-party community energy developers incentives to create ‘business models that provide value to the grid and minimize any negative impact to non-participating customers,’ according to the filing…” click here for more