The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) announced two new rooftop PV programs that affect Hawaii residents and businesses. There’s been some confusion, but the bottom line, according to Mike Ito of Alternate Energy Inc. (AEI), is that “PV systems are still a great return on investment. Don’t wait until it’s too late!”

The new programs, which will replace the Net Energy Metering (NEM) program, include:

• Grid Supply Program: Similar to the NEM program, the grid supply program will allow rooftop PV customers to send extra energy to the grid in return for energy credits on their monthly electric bills. The export energy credit for extra electricity is 15 cents per kilowatt-hour on Oahu and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour on Maui. New residential PV customers will pay a minimum monthly bill of $25. It reduces credits to homeowners and increases the minimum monthly payment as compared to the NEM program.

Ito noted, “This program is limited to 25 megawatts of subscribers (estimated end date: 8-10 months). Once full, this program will close, so we’re advising customers to act now.”

• Self-Supply Program: The self-supply program allows rooftop PV customers with energy storage, such as AEI’s Home Energy Storage Site (HESS), to capture excess solar power for their home and business. Excess energy does not need to be exported to the grid.

Existing NEM customers and those who filed applications for the program before Oct. 13 are unaffected by these changes. However, if these customers want to modify their PV systems they will be required to adopt the Grid Supply or Self-Supply program.

The PUC also announced a new Time of Use (TOU) tariff that will allow customers to shift their energy demand to the middle of the day, taking advantage of lower-cost solar energy. Depending on how the rate structure plays out, this may be a great way for customers to save money.

“Compared to the previous NEM program, a new grid-supply system can have a ROI of about 12 percent. There’s no doubt: PV systems still have a terrific return on investment,” said Ito. Call 842-5853 for a free consultation.

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