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Hawaii PUC Staff Proposes Bill Credits for Community Solar Participants

June 20, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff has proposed that state residents who participate in community-based renewable-energy programs should receive a credit on their electrical bills, the local Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported on June 11.

The PUC staff submitted its proposal on June 8 in response to Hawaiian Electric’s and Kauai Island Electric Utility Cooperative’s applications for community solar programs, which the utilities had filed last October.

In exchange for a one-time minimum payment, a ratepayer would get an interest for 20 years in the electricity generated by a renewable project. Participants also would receive a discount on their electrical bills – depending on which renewable energy project a customer buys into and how much of an initial investment the customer makes.

The PUC staff said the setup would be similar to a reverse auction. Those participating in the program would be credited for the energy their share of the project produces according to the credit rate cap for that time of day.

Under the terms of the PUC proposal:

  • Oahu residents who participate in a community renewable-energy program would be credited 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) at midday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), 17.75 cent/kWh on-peak (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and 17 cents/kWh off-peak (10 p.m. to 9 a.m.)
  • Maui residents would be credited 13.75 cents/kWh at midday, 19 cents/kWh on-peak, and 15.75 cents/kWh off-peak.
  • Lanai residents would be credited 24.5 cents/kWh at midday, 24.75 cents/kWh on-peak, and 23.5 cent/kWh off-peak.
  • Molokai residents would be credited 19.75 cent/kWh at midday, 20.5 cents/kWh on-peak, and 19.75 cents/kWh off-peak.
  • Hawaii Island residents would be credited 9.75 cents/kWh at midday, 16 cents/kWh on-peak, and 11.25 cents/kWh off-peak.
  • Kauai residents would be credited 10 /kWh at midday, 14.5 cents/kWh on-peak, and 10 cents/kWh off-peak.

Credits from the program would roll over from one month to the next. Annually, all remaining rollover bill credits would be lost.

The PUC requires that each community-based program should have an online portal, be limited to customers who are not enrolled in other solar incentives, and require a 1-kilowatt minimum customer subscription.

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