Solar power advocates rally against HECO gridlock

A group of rooftop solar advocates rallied downtown Wednesday morning to hold signs on Alakea St. and deliver a petition to the annual Hawaiian Electric (HECO) shareholder meeting.

The petition, reportedly containing 5,000 signatures, calls on HECO to follow up on the Public Utilities Commission’s recent order to create broad and improved access to the electrical grid for all current and potential rooftop solar customers in the next 120 days.

The advocates claim that “HECO’s rooftop solar approvals have lagged on Oahu and other islands since September 2013, causing uncertainty for many homeowners and disruption for the growing solar market.”

Ten days into the 120-day response time, the advocates want to continue to hold HECO accountable. “A recent poll said that 94 percent of those responding want to see more rooftop solar,” said Caitlin Pomerantz, conservation program director for Sierra Club of Hawaii. She added that there is a need for potential customers to move forward with installations and local companies to predict and plan “and see stability for the industry.”

HECO spokesperson Cynthia Lin Sugiyama said the company welcomes the “clear direction” the PUC report demanded. “No other state is experiencing close to the levels of solar demand, and we want to be sure that it’s safe and reliable for all customers.”

 

 

 

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