The power grid on Maui has a ceiling, thus the reason why some regions of the island become saturated (Maui Grid Saturation Map). If you plan to purchase a system for your property, the first step is to decide which system you need. As of October 13th, 2015, a new program from the PUC (public utilities commission) was released, changing the former “Net Metering” agreement to two separate programs, “Grid Supply” and “Self Supply.”
The previous program released by the PUC (Net Metering) was favorable to consumers; you could essentially sell power back to the electric company at 38 cents a KWH for a low monthly payment of $18. Whatever you contributed as a consumer was issued as a credit towards your electric bill. If you did not use the entire credit, you were able to bank the credit for 1 year.
The issue with this program is that most of the energy produced by consumers’ photovoltaic panels was sent back onto the grid during the middle of the day. With no way to store all of this extra energy produced during non-peak hours, the electric companies are paying for energy that cannot be used. Even though this program has expired the PUC is grandfathering beneficiaries; even if the ownership of the net metering system changes, the benefits do not.
More on Net Metering.
Self Supply is a good option for consumers who are planning to use some sort of energy storage system (batteries, maybe even a Tesla Power Wall?) Seeing that these systems will not be feeding back onto the grid creating an overload of energy at non-peak hours, the PUC will be expediting the approval process for Self Supply systems. There is currently no cap for Self Supply systems on Maui.
Grid Supply is for consumers who wish to stay dependent on the grid. This program is essentially the same as the old Net Metering agreement, however, the credit has dropped to 17 cents a KWH. The 21 cent difference has been justified by the intention of lowering energy costs for all consumers (I will be watching for electric rates to drop.) At the moment, there is a cap of 5MW or roughly 1,000 homes on the island of Maui.
Both Self Supply and Grid Supply will face a minimum utility bill of $25 a month for grid maintenance.
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Tim Stice, R(B)