The recent Decision and Order from the Hawaii PUC approving a framework for Community Solar programs in Hawaii affords a significant opportunity for lower- and middle-income families to benefit from cost savings derived from solar power, says Bob Johnston, chief executive officer and president of Hawaii Pacific Solar.

He goes on to explain:
Under the program, a solar system is constructed and individuals can subscribe to a portion of the system’s energy production. In Phase 1 of the program the utility will give a rate credit of $.15/kWh on Oahu and on the Big Island and $.165 on Maui.

Take for example a 100kW system developed on a roof or piece of property (that does not have to be adjacent or even near the subscriber). If an individual subscribes to 5% of the system, that 5% or 5KW of the power produced in KwH would be multiplied by the credit of $.15 and this would be credited against the individual’s HECO bill.

Many interconnection applications have been denied due to circuit availability. Community Solar rectifies this problem by avoiding circuit limitations.

The first phase is limited to 5MW on Oahu and 1 MW each on Maui and Big Island. This phase is intended to test the market and the program. Results will be reviewed and modifications made in the next phase, which is expected within a year of completion of Phase I.

HPS expects to be a significant participant in community solar and is working with experienced partners to “bid in to” projects for the utilities consideration.