From 2008 to 2012, Hawaiian Electric Company saw solar rooftop system installations double each year. As adoption again nearly doubled in 2013, 10% of the utility's customers had solar systems feeding into its grid. Hawaiian Electric recently announced a temporary slow-down of adding more solar energy onto some of the circuits on its grid. Other U.S. utilities also are imposing deterrents to small-scale solar.
Hawaiian residents pay an average of 37¢ per kWh, triple the national average. But a 6-kWh solar installation in Hawaii can produce enough power to lower an average home's electricity charges to zero. And, until now, Hawaiian Electric allowed customers that produce more energy than they consume to sell the energy back to the utility, a practice called "net metering." But Hawaiian Electric's recent moratorium blocks new installations from net metering. The company provides power to 95% of Hawaiian residents, servicing all islands but Kauai, says Hawaiian Electric spokesman Peter Rosegg. Customers are pushing back against the forced delays on new installations.