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HECO rooftop PV approvals near 70,000

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There are almost 70,000 rooftop solar photovoltaic systems approved across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island.

As of July 15 a total of 69,330 rooftop solar net energy metering applications were approved to install or interconnect by Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Co. In October, HECO, the state’s largest electric utility, committed to clear a backlog of about 2,800 pending solar hookups. Since then more than 15,000 applications have been approved to install or connect to HECO’s grid.

“Rooftop PV is an important option for many of our customers and a key part of the mix of renewable resources we need to meet our state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We’re working hard to provide our customers with options that support the continued growth of solar energy in ways that are safe and reliable while ensuring fair treatment for all customers.”

30-year mortgage increases to 2015 high of 4.09 percent

WASHINGTON >> Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week, reaching highs for the year as investor anxiety over economic turbulence abroad moderated. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 4.09 percent from 4.04 percent a week earlier. The new level is the highest since last October.

The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 3.25 percent from 3.20 percent. That matched its high for the year, set last month.

Investors recently had been seeking safety in U.S. Treasury bonds amid economic tumult in China and Greece. Greece’s agreement this week with its European partners on a rescue package has calmed investors and brought some retreat from Treasury bonds, pushing interest rates higher.

Ranch unit exits as utility merger intervenor

Paniolo Power Co. LLC, a division of Parker Ranch Inc., announced Thursday that it will withdraw as an intervenor in the Hawaiian Electric Cos./NextEra Energy Inc. merger before the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Florida-based NextEra Energy applied in January to purchase the state’s largest utility.

Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch, said withdrawing from the merger was a strategic move intended to quicken the process to lower customer electricity rates.

“The Ranch and our neighboring communities continue to be burdened with the highest electricity rates among the HECO companies. Our efforts need to be on lowering rates for the most people on the Big Island in the shortest time frame,” Kuyper said.

United Airlines rewards hackers with miles

Two hackers have scored a million frequent-flier miles each on United Airlines for finding security holes in the airline’s computer systems.

The awards were made under a program United started in May. Technology companies have offered such bounties, but they are unusual in the transportation industry.

United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said Thursday that two people have received the maximum award of 1 million miles each, and others got smaller awards. A million miles is enough for several first-class trips to Asia or up to 20 round-trips in the U.S.

Fed will tap brakes with care, Yellen says

WASHINGTON >> Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen sought to reassure worried lawmakers Thursday that when the Fed begins to raise interest rates, it will be careful not to derail the economy.

Delivering her second day of congressional testimony, Yellen responded to concerns from some Democratic senators that once the Fed does start raising rates, it could set back job market and income gains.

Yellen said the Fed was facing a delicate balancing act in achieving its dual goals of achieving maximum employment and stable prices. “We don’t want to cut off job growth and income growth, and we do want to see inflation move up to 2 percent,” Yellen said.

On The Move

» Hawaii Preparatory Academy has announced that Sam Pratt has been named to its board of trustees. He is president of Niu Pia Land Co., which is a family-owned commercial real estate holding and management company on Kauai. Pratt has served on the company’s board since 1990 and previously served as treasurer for 12 years. In addition, he is treasurer and trustee of his family’s E.H.W. Broadbent Foundation.

» PBS Hawaii has announced that Heather Arias de Cordoba is the nonprofit organization’s director of communications. Her responsibilities include managing communications strategy online, on air and in print, as well as coordinating and managing marketing and promotional materials and community outreach. Arias de Cordoba is also a lecturer and published author, and has extensive experience in magazines and newspapers, marketing, social media, creative direction and branding.

Ship Ahoy!

Today’s ship arrivals and departures:

Honolulu Harbor
Agent Vessel From ETA ETD Berth Destination
WNLI Horizon Spirit 12:01 a.m. 51A Los Angeles
TNC Iver Experience off-port anchorage 3:30 p.m. 51A
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