What is solar energy?

Solar energy is a clean and renewable resource that can be used to heat water or produce electricity with the installation of a solar water heater or photovoltaic (PV) system. It can help save money on your monthly electric bill, contribute to a cleaner environment by reducing the amount of fuel used to make electricity, and increase the value of your home. 

How many people in Hawaii use solar energy?

Hawaii leads the nation in residential solar. There are currently 82,000 private rooftop systems that are already connected or approved to be connected to
Hawaiian Electric’s grids — and that number will continue to grow. In fact, in 2017, approximately 109 megawatts of new solar was installed across Hawaiian Electric service territories; this represents a 19 percent jump from 2016 and helps to move the Islands closer to a clean energy future.  

How can solar energy help me save money on my electric bill?

There are four ways to connect the solar system on your roof to your utility company: 

Customer Self-Supply (CSS) – This allows customers to installPV systems that do not export power to the utility grid. All the power produced by the customer’s system will need to be used immediately or stored to be used by the customer later. 

Smart Export – Unlike with CSS, Smart Export residents’ PV systems do export power to the utility grid. Customers who are approved for this program receive credits on their electric bill for exporting energy from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. 

Customer Grid-Supply Plus (CGS-plus) – This program allows Hawaiian Electric to measure, monitor and if necessary, control CGS-plus systems to maintain grid stability. Customers receive credit on their monthly bills.

Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) – This program allows customers to export energy to the grid throughout the day. Currently, the program is fully subscribed but remains open until installed capacity is reached. 

How can I interconnect a rooftop system for my home?

It’s easy to apply for a PV system. The Hawaiian Electric Companies have a new online tool for customers to submit interconnection applications electronically at any time.

Learn more at hawaiianelectric.com/renewableprograms. 

Additional Information 

Green Hawaii was published as a supplement to Hawaii Home + Remodeling magazine's April 2018 issue. To find out more about how you can go green all year, visit our Green section. 

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