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Thursday, September 25, 2014
Will Solar Scammers Undermine Subprime GEMS Loan Program?
By News Release @ 9:59 PM :: 5050 Views :: Energy, Ethics

Update on PV Connections

Message to Constituents from Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine September 25, 2014

Last week, state lawmakers held a public hearing to learn more about Hawaiian Electric's (HECO) September 2013 solar interconnection policy changes.

As you may recall, the policy changes required customers with pending applications, residing in communities with high photovoltaic (PV) penetration, to pay for costly interconnection studies and/or system upgrades to connect their rooftop PV system to the grid.

Last year, I expressed my concern to HECO that the PV penetration in Leeward communities is so high that almost all new Leeward customers seeking to connect a PV system to the grid would have to bear this extra cost (click here to read my November 2013 letter to HECO).

Since January, HECO has approved over 5,200 applications, but last week state lawmakers learned that nearly 4,500 applications are still pending, including those of Leeward applicants, many of whom contacted me to let me know of this delay.

The utility indicated that they will continue to work with the solar industry and inverter companies to improve PV inverters and increase circuit capacity for PV.

However, state lawmakers and solar advocates are still concerned about the costs customers would have to pay in order to update their rooftop inverters, and were especially concerned about customers who participated in the state’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program.

If you or your family has been affected by these updates and remain concerned for your family's investment, please contact your state legislators to share your HECO concerns and frustrations, and encourage them to draft and introduce meaningful legislation that will safeguard your interests and your wallet when it is time to connect your system to the grid or update your PV system. If you are unsure about who your legislators are, click here to learn more.

I will remain vigilant and continue to advocate for you when the Legislature convenes next January. Please continue to share your thoughts and concerns about PV with me by calling (808) 768-5001 or e-mailing kmpine@honolulu.gov.

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