Honolulu Solar Permits Dropped 61% in March

Oahu’s rooftop solar energy industry continues to cool down with a 61 percent drop in the number of permits issued in March, according to a report by a local vendor, Pacific Business News said on April 7.

Last month, the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting issued 184 solar photovoltaic permits, which not only represented a drop from the same month in 2016 – but a 72 percent drop from March 2015.

The permitting figures were compiled and collected by solar energy industry executive Marco Mangelsdorf, who heads Big Island-based  ProVision Solar, a residential and commercial full-service installer.

During the first quarter, the number of PV permits issued was 40 percent of what was issued in the same time period of 2016, the local business news outlet reported.

The solar PV carnage also is being acutely experienced on Maui, Mangelsdorf said. The island has seen the worst market in five years in 2016, with  155 PV permits issued during the first quarter, compared to 540 during the same period in 2016 – a drop of 71 percent, the solar vendor told PBN.

On the Big Island, there were 251 permits issued in the first quarter, do –a drop of 19 percent.

“The less than bad news is that there is more deadwood net energy metering capacity being transferred to the customer grid supply program, which provides something of a lifeline to the state’s solar industry that is on track to experience its worst year in the past six or seven,” Mangelsdorf told the news outlet. “With additional cap space being provided to CGS, many companies have been actively pursuing new CGS sales.”

The industry has been suffering since state regulators voted in October 2015 to end the popular net energy metering program. In its place, new customers choose from either grid-supply or self-supply options.

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