Panos Prevedouros, a professor of engineering at the University of Hawaii
Panos Prevedouros, PHD, professor of Engineering at the University of Hawaii

BY PANOS PREVEDOUROS PHD – On September 6, 2013, Hawaiian Electric Company or HECO changed the rules for connecting solar systems. Based on DBEDT data, the number of residential permits in December 2012 were 2,452.  With the new rules in effect, the number of residential permits in December 2013 were 1,218, a 50.3% reduction.

FORBES:  A Hawaiian utility has tried to slow the growth of solar. In December, Hawaiian Electric Company shut down rooftop solar installations, citing “grid stability.”

“That’s another bullshit argument,” said Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who served as energy secretary from 2009 to April, 2013. Solar installations don’t threaten grid stability until they approach 20% of the customer base, Chu said. In Hawaii solar is at 2%.

(Hawaiian Electric disputes Chu’s 2% figure, and spokeswoman Lynn Unemori says the company has not halted solar installations, but has adopted “a more cautious approach to applications for new PV systems on circuits with a large amount of PV already installed, solely for reasons of safety and reliability.” ) END QUOTE

But Roy Skaggs of Alternate Energy, Inc. won’t let Lynn’s “word-smithed” response stand:

Lynne,

To quote Mr. Chu above, that’s a bullshit response. The only thing I agree with you on, is that rooftop solar has exceeded 2%. The rest of your canned response is the same vomit regurgitated by Scott Seu and sadly what we have been sometimes even seeing from the PUC. HECO has blocked many people, including ones who you were supposed to grandfather. This “approving new installations daily” statement is so exaggerated that you would have to work for HECO to believe it. But hey, I guess if you approve 1 installation a day and block 20, then you can get away with that line!

How can you say HECO “strongly supports” PV? Since September, the entire industry has been cast away by HECO. How many hundreds of lost jobs and millions of dollars does it take before HECO admits they do not support anything but their own profit margins? You have hundreds of customers stuck in limbo for months who signed contracts and committed to PV before Sept 6th, and HECO has still not resolved those poor families troubles. Many are paying bank loans AND HECO!

And let’s talk for a second about this “grid saturation” that HECO holds onto and tries to pass off as truth. Scott Seu admitted in front of Senators and Representatives in October that there are grids over 200% DML. Where are the voltage spikes of record? Surely, with such “unsafe” levels, HECO would have examples to provide, right? The newest delay HECO is pushing is something already in place. The inverters being used by most, if not every single company, have protection in place from the bogus claims of “voltage spikes” that HECO has been spewing. These fast trip invereters are there and have been there. So why are solar companies just now getting word to provide proof that the inverters do indeed have this in place? We have been telling you they do for months.

What is HECO’s next delay tactic? The jig is up. More and more news outlets and industry professionals, like Mr. Chu, are calling you on your bullshit. If HECO doesn’t work with solar and the customers who want it, you will soon go the way of the land line.

How can a monopoly tell hard working Americans that they cannot capture the free sun on their own rooftops? You can’t. This is a losing battle for HECO. Innovate or go extinct.

Roy Skaggs

PS–Also recall that HEI president Connie Lau lead Move Oahu Forward… the big bucks lobby that is inflicting heavy rail on Oahu.

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