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Hawaii Governor Pushes to Expand Solar Power to Renters

Hawaii Governor Pushes to Expand Solar Power to Renters

Community solar “will democratize renewable energy by allowing those who do not have access to rooftop real estate to be able to participate in the benefits of the clean-energy transformation,” said Gov. David Ige.

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(TNS) — Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he wants Hawaii to deploy more community solar projects — which give those renting or living in condominiums access to renewable energy — by 2018.

Speaking at the eighth annual Hawaii Clean Energy Day at the Laniakea YWCA, Ige said he wants the solar option to be available for all Hawaii residents.

Community solar “will democratize renewable energy by allowing those who do not have access to rooftop real estate to be able to participate in the benefits of the clean-energy transformation,” Ige said.

Ige said Hawaii’s energy community needs to come together to accomplish the state’s renewable-energy goals now that regulators rejected the sale of Hawaiian Electric Industries to Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc.

“Now that the (Public Utilities Commission) has spoken on the NextEra merger, it is time for everyone to come together and recommit to our shared clean-energy future,” Ige said. “Coming together, I think, is a good theme for the coming year.”

Ige’s goals for Hawaii’s energy sector include centering the electrical utility around distributed generation such as rooftop solar and batteries; building community solar projects; and closing a loophole in the state’s goal to have 100 percent renewable electric power by 2045.

Hawaiian Electric filed a plan in October for a community solar program.

“It’s going to take a diversity of renewable resources and other technology to get to 100 percent renewable energy,” Lynne Unemori, Hawaiian Electric’s vice president for corporate relations, said in an email. “An integrated plan that extends the benefits of clean energy to all customers is critical. That’s why community-based renewable programs that make it possible for renters, condo owners and others who don’t have a roof or prefer another option are so important.”

Hawaiian Electric “wants to move forward with a community renewables pilot project to provide some initial implementation experience with these kinds of programs,” said Unemori.

During his speech Ige said he still opposes the use of liquefied natural gas for power generation and views it as a distraction from the state’s overall goal.

Ige said that he wants the electrical utility’s business model to center around distributed generation, such as rooftop solar and batteries.

“The business model of the traditional utility has to be different,” Ige said. “It just cannot be the same. … The 21st-century model is more customer-centered with distributed local solutions all across the state.”

Ige said a goal for the upcoming legislative sessions is to fix a loophole in the state’s 100 percent renewable goal, also called the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The current law, which set 2045 as the year the state must have 100 percent of its electricity coming from renewable energy resources, allows for the continued use of some fossil fuel.

“My administration is committed to achieving the RPS goals completely and in an affordable way,” he said.

source : http://www.govtech.com/fs/Hawaii-Governor-Pushes-to-Expand-Solar-Power-to-Renters.html

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