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29% of homes in Maui County have installed rooftop solar

State sees a 55 percent increase year over year

The Maui News

Private rooftop solar in 2020 saw a 55 percent jump year over year, signaling the nation’s leading rooftop solar uptake per capita, according to Hawaiian Electric.

With this increase, 36 percent of single-family homes on Oahu, 29 percent in Maui County and 21 percent on Hawaii island have rooftop solar — “by far the leading rooftop solar uptake per capita in the nation,” a Jan. 25 news release announced.

Last year, 5,965 new rooftop solar systems were installed across Oahu, Hawaii island and Maui County, up 55 percent from the 3,840 systems in 2019. Of the new systems, 4,624, or 78 percent, include battery storage, the company said.

At the end of 2020, there were 87,848 private customer systems connected to Hawaiian Electric’s five island grids, including 9,751 with energy storage. The generating capacity of customer-sited systems and grid-scale solar projects totaled 968 megawatts in 2020, an increase of 7 percent from 902 MW in 2019. In total, about 3.7 million panels are in use.

Of the total private systems, 13,924 are in Maui County, with 92 percent residential and 8 percent commercial. The capacity in Maui County is 132 MW, with 59 percent residential and 41 percent commercial.

“This continued progress for customer self-generation is welcome news for Hawaii and all our customers,” said Lani Shinsato, Hawaiian Electric customer energy resources co-director. “We cannot hope to reach our clean energy goals, especially on land-scarce Oahu, without robust customer participation in generation, storage and grid services that keep the electric system reliable, secure and safe.”

Hawaiian Electric recently launched its Quick Connect program, which allows customers installing new rooftop solar systems to reduce electricity costs faster.

For customers who have challenges employing private rooftop solar, Hawaiian Electric will soon launch its shared solar program, which will extend the financial and environmental benefits of clean energy to a wider range of residents. Priority will go to those underrepresented in solar adoption, such as renters and customers with low-to-moderate incomes.

Upon approval by the Public Utilities Commission and after recruitment of local organizations to build these projects, more customers will be able to participate in grid-scale solar projects, the release said.

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