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Hawaiian Electric launches Quick Connect project during Covid recovery – Pacific Business News – The Business Journals

Hawaiian Electric Co. announced Tuesday that new rooftop solar systems on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island may bypass its usual permitting process under a new program called “Quick Connect,” allowing some customers to potentially get their panels up and running weeks sooner than normal.
However, prospective photovoltaic customers looking to trim their electricity bills with the program must be in certain areas on each island. They still must apply for a county building permit and have an advanced meter installed — a process that varies in length by county. Their solar system must be under 25 kilowatts and meet other technical requirements.
The program is slated to run for all of 2021 and “may be extended beyond one year,” according to a release from HECO.
“We are committed to help our customers save money and help invigorate Hawaii’s economy as we get through the pandemic and move aggressively to 100 percent renewable electricity,” said Lani Shinsato, HECO customer energy resources co-director, in a statement.
“Quick Connect allows customers’ solar systems to be installed first and approved later,” Shinsato said. “This is a partnership with the solar industry in which they ensure system requirements are met so that the utility can maintain a safe and reliable grid for all.”
Geographic circuit areas on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island with hosting capacities above 30% are eligible for the program. However, a look at HECO’s map tool showed many heavily residential areas on those islands below 30% capacity.
Once an application for a county building permit is filed, the timetable for a new solar meter installation ranges from nine days on Oahu to under two days on Maui, a HECO spokesperson told Pacific Business News via email. Construction of panels should wait for the county permit.
HECO may close off Quick Connect participants it feels “can no longer operate safely and reliably without a full evaluation prior to installation,” according to its terms.
New photovoltaic permits on Oahu were up 7.5% in 2020 from 2019 (4,591 permits from 4,270), per data obtained from the city Department of Planning and Permitting and analyzed by ProVision Solar in Hilo.
RevoluSun LLC had 22% more permits issued year-over-year and led in 2020 Oahu permits at 774.
Hawaii leads nationally in per capita rooftop solar use, including 36% of single-family homes on Oahu, per HECO.
Questions about Quick Connect may be directed to connect@hawaiianelectric.com for Oahu; connectmauicounty@hawaiianelectric.com for Maui; and connecthawaiiisland@hawaiianelectric.com for Hawaii Island.
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