Honolulu – The Hawai’i House today passed a measure that will help resolve the inability for thousands of Hawaii families to install photovoltaic solar panels, only to be left in limbo by electric utilities and “fine print” including terms like grid saturation, max capacity, etc. The measure directs the Public Utilities Commission to establish new guidelines and rules that will support the upgrade and modernization of Hawaii’s electric grid and accommodate growing energy generation from residential and business customers.
Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) who introduced the bill said, “We cannot let families make an investment to save on their electric bills but then be left waiting months or years for utilities to finally connect them to the grid. They should be able to connect to the grid in a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost, and know what to expect before they put their money down.”
HB 1943, HD 2 asks the commission to address technical, policy and economic issues associated with modernizing the state’s electric grid and include policies that would support a diverse portfolio of renewable energy resources and expand options for customers to manage their own energy use. The measure also directs the PUC to begin proceedings to discuss upgrades to the grid no later than July 14, 2014. The bill was drafted in response to the inability of the current grid system to accommodate all of the individuals and businesses interested in purchasing their own photovoltaic system and hooking it up to the grid.
The bill now goes to the Senate for review and action.