Despite the fact that solar rooftop applications have increased by 40% DER groups are insisting on a larger increase.
In a letter to that was distributed to the solar industry, which employs thousands, the Distributed Energy Resources Council, Hawaii PV Coalition, and Hawaii Solar Energy Association, stated that Hawaii can indeed recover from the financial loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.
One of their suggestions was to streamline HECO’s interconnection process in an effort to lower energy costs. They suggested that solar systems lower than 25 kW should be allowed to operate once the installation is complete and safety features have been implemented. They suggested a 6 month plan to implement this process.
Due to the stay-at-home policies that were implemented earlier this year, it has been noted that despite the pandemic outbreak, solar contractors are still hard at work. However, salespeople in this field have been instructed to work from home.
The shelter-in-place order has been extended until the end of May at least, making the job of salespeople a challenge. While potential customers are home-bound, they might want to consider the advantages of switching to solar rooftop energy.
HECO stated that they are committed to processing all applications and will be flexible when it comes to meeting deadlines due to the current situation.
DER groups feel that this prediction should be greater. However, HECO feels that this would cause safety risks. They want to ensure that the installations are property completed and that customers are able to allow the system to be in full compliance.
In spite of this, HECO did agree to switch out revenue meters as soon as the conditions of distributed systems were approved, as opposed to swapping them when the interconnection process is complete.
DER suggested that the revenue meter should be switched as soon as the customer has been approved for solar energy installation. This should be a permanent change to the interconnection plan instead of just a reaction to the current crisis.
DER plans to remain a major factor in the future of clean energy for Hawaii, despite the pandemic. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is inspiring workers to face the energy crisis with renewed insight and innovation.
While it is still too early to predict the full effects of COVID-19 on solar energy, it has raised concerns that solar advocates need to be more mindful of the current impacts of the pandemic on the solar energy industry.