Hawaii Is Issuing Fewer Permits for Solar Panels, Even as Demand Rises

by Henry Kaplan | Jun 10, 2014 |


With electricity prices triple the national average, Hawaii should be a proving ground for solar power. The price of solar panels is falling, and rooftop solar makes more financial sense than ever. Demand for solar panel installations is higher in Hawaii than just about anywhere else. But HECO, the Hawaiian electric utility, is issuing solar panel permits at the lowest rate in two years.

HECO began limiting solar panel installations last September, catching the industry there by surprise. They say they keeping their grid from overloading with solar power, but plenty in Hawaii say that HECO is trying to protect its own interests by keeping customers from generating their own power.

But perhaps a resolution is near. HECO said last week that they are finishing up their studies on integrating solar into their grid. And they’ve been looking into utility-scale energy storage, which would increase the utility of solar power, which generates the most power in the middle of the day, and not during peak usage times in the evening. As the state with the most consumer demand for solar power, it’s worth following this closely.


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