ORIGINAL REPORTING: Hawaii Leads New Energy Again With Solar Breakthrough
One small step for Hawaii solar, one leap toward 100% renewables; After Hawaii regulators approved two new solar tariffs last month, solar customers in the state must now decide whether to buy, lease or pass on battery storage.
Herman K. Trabish, November 9, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Hawaii continues to point the way to the New Energy future. It just opened a proceeding which will shift the power system's focus from utility profits to electricity customers' demands.
A new Smart Export solar tariff ordered by Hawaii’s regulators is so popular that both distributed energy resource (DER) advocates and Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) say it was their idea. They are probably both right because the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) used ideas from nine months of workshop negotiations to shape the final Decision and Order. The ruling ends the Technical Track in Hawaii’s groundbreaking DER proceeding (Docket 2014-0192). It is, the parties agree, the logical next step toward Hawaii’s 100% renewables by 2045 goal. Smart Export is one of two new interim tariffs in the order. It and the Customer Grid Supply-plus (CGS+) tariffs will replace tariffs created in the HPUC’s landmark 2015 decision ending retail rate net energy metering (NEM).
Each tariff has its own advantage and provides different incentives on whether to pair storage with residential solar systems. With Smart Export, owners of solar-plus-storage systems will be able to maximize their use of stored solar to offset their nighttime consumption of electricity priced at Hawaii's high retail rate. They will also earn some below-retail compensation for generation sent to the HECO grid outside peak solar generation hours. With CGS+, owners of solar-only systems will earn modest compensation for any excess generation they send to the grid, whenever the sun is shining. Solar-plus-storage system owners will be able to choose how much electricity to send to the grid and how much to store to offset the retail rate at night. HPUC's order sends policymakers and stakeholders into the docket’s Market Track. In it, they will grapple with even more complicated rate design and DER valuation questions to construct a final NEM successor tariff... click here for more