PUC Eases Way For Renewable Energy Grid Integration

December 1, 2011, 10:51 AM HST · Updated December 1, 10:52 AM
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By Wendy Osher

AAAAA Rent-A-Space PV Installation on Maui. Photo courtesy Silver Shark Media.

New rules adopted by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) go into effect over the weekend.

The rules are expected to ease the way for more distributed renewable energy generation like rooftop solar panels; and enable contribution of the resources into the energy mix throughout the islands.

“The improvements to Hawaii’s interconnection rules are a big first step toward enabling more homes and businesses to join the clean energy wave,” said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake, who represented the Hawaii Solar Energy Association (HSEA) before the PUC.

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The settlement that the PUC approved yesterday was the product of more than a year of negotiations between the Hawaiian Electric utilities and several non-utility organizations, including the HSEA and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

“We want to continue to work with the utilities to find ways to facilitate access for distributed renewable energy while maintaining a reliable grid,” said Mark Duda, President of the HSEA.

The new rules in particular, allow the amount of renewable generation on a distribution circuit to move beyond the current barrier of 15% peak load, without requiring an interconnection requirements study.

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