Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power and the state has an ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045. According to Mr Rick Reed, president of the Hawaii solar energy association, “Our program revolves around encouraging and getting solar panels on people’s roofs and reimbursing customers who can supply their excess energy to the state grid, so that we all use less oil.”

It involves a net energy-metering program, which refunds people at the full retail rate for electricity they supply to the grid. This turns the ordinary individual or business into electric power generation units.

In other states in the USA, there are tax credits offered to people and SME’s for solar installations. “It comes down to a financial issue,” said Hawaii state representative Chris Lee, chairman of the house committee on Energy and Environmental protection. “The more distributed generation, the more power that individuals generate themselves, the less of a customer base the utility ultimately has in the long run.”

Hawaii had the United States highest electricity costs, in part because it relied heavily on imported oil. The state now has solar installed on more than 70,000 homes and businesses.

At peak hours during the day, they get very close to 100 percent of their energy being by solar, thereby reducing pressure on the state grid and also maintaining grid stability when the sun goes down.

Johnson Alabi
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