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Maui solar customers hit grid power limit

  • HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER / OCT. 2015

    Maui solar customers have hit the limit of the total amount of rooftop solar systems that can send excess power to its grid.

Maui Electric Co. said today that Maui solar customers have hit the limit of the total amount of rooftop solar systems that can send excess power to its grid.

In October, when the state Public Utilities Commission ended a popular incentive program that offered owners of solar-energy systems a credit equal to the retail rate for the excess energy that their systems sent into the grid, the PUC replaced it with two programs.

Only one of the two programs, called grid-supply, allowed customers to continue exporting excess energy into the grid.

Grid-supply credits new solar owners 15 cents a kilowatt hour for the extra energy their solar-energy systems send into the grid, roughly 8 cents less than the retail rate that had been offered through the original program. The PUC also put a 35-megawatt limit on the total amount of energy generated from the grid-supply program statewide. Maui County’s limit was 5 megawatts.

MECO said, approved systems and applications are expected to fill up the 5 megawatt capacity limit that regulators set for Maui, Lanai, and Molokai this week.

Now, residents of Maui County who want solar have to apply for the self-supply program.

Self-supply encourages customers to buy battery systems because this program does not allow owners of solar-energy systems to send any excess energy into the electric grid.

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