The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has issued a 128-page ruling that initiates a program which will allow homeowners and businesses to install small to midsized renewable energy projects, like solar panels, and sell the energy back to Hawaii’s power producers.
Called a feed-in tariff, or FiT, this rule allows homeowners and businesses to generate solar electricity and sell it back to entities like Hawaiian Electric Co. (HEC) for rates that “exceed” current Hawaiian electricity prices. The exact payback figures have yet to be set, but the announcement commits Hawaii to a policy that allows all energy producers to get a fixed price for their production for 20 years under a power purchase agreement.
Hawaii is the fourth region in the nation to offer FiTs — after Gainesville, Florida; Vermont, which offers only a standard rate; and, most recently, California; Wisconsin FiTs are offered only through specific utilities, and only for certain technologies.
Hawaii is also the nation’s most egregiously fossil-fuel dependent state. The new policy will help the state reduce its dependency on these dirty fuels and move it toward a national goal of energy security.