Rooftop Solar Permits Plummet Following PUC Program Changes
The number of permits for rooftop residential photo voltaic systems has been cut nearly in half for Hawaii Island and almost a quarter for Oahu compared to this time last year.
The City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting issued 336 permits for solar electric systems last month, a drop of 54% compared to the number of PV permits issued July 2015, and the fewest number issued in the past year and a half. Over the past seven months 2,946 PV permits were issued compared to 4,053 issued during the same period last year, a decrease of 27%. That’s according to research done by Hilo based ProVision Solar, which says the discontinuation of solar incentive programs are to blame.
Last October, the state Public Utilities Commission ended its "Net Energy Metering” equal credit program… replacing that with two options. One is a Grid Supply program, which credits owner’s 15 cents for every kilowatt hour of extra energy generated. The other is a home battery system to store power with models being released from companies like Tesla. But critics argue that the grid supply doesn’t properly reimburse clients, and battery systems are often too expensive.
Marco Mangelsdorf, president of ProVision Solar says neither option is ideal.
Mangelsdorf adds that the customer generated supply cap for Maui County has already been reached… and the limit for Hawai‘i island and O‘ahu are close to filling up.