Last Updated July 24, 2020
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
Hawaii has established simplified interconnection rules for small renewables and separate rules for all other distributed generation (DG). For inverter-based systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) in capacity, there is a simple application process for interconnection. Systems must meet all applicable performance and safety standards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Underwriters Laboratories, National Electric Code, and where applicable, public utilities commission rules. For other smaller systems, there are simplified interconnection procedures for net metered systems powered by solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric up to 50 kW.
Two dockets were opened in 2006 to streamline interconnection procedures: (1) PUC Docket No. 2006-0497 (Hawaiian Electric Co., Hawaii Electric Light Co., and Maui Electric Co.,); and (2) PUC Docket No. 2006-0498 (KIUC). The PUC issued a decision and order for each of these dockets in April and May 2008, and more streamlined procedures for interconnection were adopted. KIUC provides a fast-track process for small generating facilities under two megawatts (MW), while larger systems must undergo more extensive review.
In November 2011, the Public Utilities Commission issued a decision and order to improve Hawaii's interconnection standards. The order approved a supplemental review process and other measures to limit the scope of systems that must conduct an Interconnection Requirements Study (IRS). In the past, a system would automatically have to conduct an IRS if the project did not meet certain technical screening criteria. In particular, the 15% circuit penetration threshold often triggered an IRS. In the new approach by the HECO Companies, if certain technical screening criteria are not met, the utility will conduct a supplemental review if a customer chooses to proceed with interconnection. The supplemental review will determine if simplified interconnection can take place, if interconnection requirements beyond simplified interconnection are needed, or if an IRS is needed. The new rules have set timelines in the interconnection process, including a timeline for dispute resolution.