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New program will speed up rooftop solar projects

The Maui News

A new Hawaiian Electric program will help speed up rooftop solar installations and reduce costs for customers more quickly, the company announced.

Geared toward supporting customers and Hawaii’s solar industry during the COVID-19 economic downturn, Quick Connect for the next 12 months will allow eligible customers on Maui, Oahu and Hawaii islands to activate new systems without going through the standard approvals.

An approval process that typically takes several weeks or months per step can now be handled after the system is built and turned on, substantially reducing the wait for many new customers. If successful, Quick Connect may be extended beyond one year.

“Quick Connect allows customers’ solar systems to be installed first and approved later,” Lani Shinsato, customer energy resources co-director at Hawaiian Electric, said in a news release Tuesday. “This is a partnership with the solar industry in which they ensure system requirements are met so that the utility can maintain a safe and reliable grid for all.”

The goal is to speed connections for customers and increase rooftop solar on circuits with the most existing capacity while reducing work for contractors and Hawaiian Electric, the news release said.

New systems still must start by applying for a county building permit, conform to the state Public Utilities Commission’s Rule 14H and be no larger than 25 kilowatts in capacity, with other technical requirements.

Customers will need to have a new, advanced meter installed. However, the application to be renewed by Hawaiian Electric may be submitted after the system is built and turned on.

Customers can see how much space is available for private rooftop solar in their area by visiting www.hawaiianelectric.com/lvm.

Detailed specifications on eligibility are available at www.hawaiianelectric.com/quickconnect.

Maui residents who have questions can email connectmauicounty@hawaiianelectric.com.

Hawaii leads the nation in per capita use of rooftop solar, with more than 20 percent of customers, including 36 percent of single-family homes on Oahu, with solar systems connected to island grids, the news release said.

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