SunPower by Eco Solar can help you understand and navigate the new solar energy requirements from Hawaiian Electric.
On September 14, 2016 Hawaiian Electric (HECO) announced that the Customer Grid Supply (CGS) program had reached its capacity of 25MW, ending the limited term solar program on Oahu. This announcement came less than one year after the cutoff of the Net Energy Metering Program (NEM), which had helped tens of thousands of Hawaii customers adopt solar energy for their homes and businesses over the last decade.
What is self-supply and how is it different from past programs?
The big difference between HECO’s “Self Supply” program vs. NEM and Grid Supply is that customers are no longer allowed to export solar energy back to the grid. All of the solar energy produced from rooftop solar must either be consumed instantly in your home or business or stored in a battery for later use.
What is the bottom line on this change?
Under both past and present programs, homeowners investing in solar can bank tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the lifetime of their system. Federal and state tax credits cover approximately half of the costs of installation for typical homeowners.
Self Supply systems, like their predecessors, will pay for themselves in 5-7 years*, but right-sizing and energy management become key elements in achieving the quickest ROI.
How much money will I save with Self Supply?
As with previous programs, it depends on your lifestyle and energy usage patterns.
Home and business owners who consume large amounts of energy during daylight hours, commonly with heavy use of air-conditioning, can achieve high percentages of electrical use offset under Self Supply, and make small adjustments to further their savings.
Homeowners with a more conventional “after work” usage pattern have enormous opportunities to achieve near total offset through smart energy management. Shifting use of A/C, laundry, water heating, pool pumps and other high wattage equipment into the time of day when your system generates the most power will optimize savings.
What can I do to maximize my savings under Self Supply?
The key is to understand when and how you use your energy. Energy consumption monitoring, included with your system, helps you identify and adjust patterns of usage. Understanding and adapting your usage can lead to thousands of dollars in additional savings over the lifetime of your system.
Do I need batteries for my home?
Potentially. When the amount of energy you still require from the utility reaches a certain level, it may make sense for you to produce more energy from solar and capture the excess with battery storage.
Batteries are a significant investment, so we strive to fully inform our customers of the costs and benefits prior to making this move.
Can I use solar energy for emergency backup power?
Yes. Solar energy systems with batteries can be set up to provide emergency backup power.
Is it possible to go completely “off-grid” with solar energy?
It is theoretically possible in some instances, but it is impractical and cost-prohibitive for most homeowners.
Most families with solar began with the desire to save money and avoid exorbitant, volatile electric bills. Solar energy still offers that opportunity and much more.
*payback calculation based on full tax credits and 100 percent consumption of energy as it is produced.