Free Solar Technology Seminar on Kauai

Kauai Solar Seminar

Free Solar Technology Seminar On Kauai

Join us for a FREE informative presentation about solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems offered every Friday at 6pm until 7pm located at Haleakala Solar’s showroom at the Kukui Grove Center on Kauai. This educational and informative seminar aims to answer any questions you may have about solar systems – how they function, what net metering is, tax credits, along with current solar trends and issues that are happening in the solar industry today in Hawaii.

This seminar will give you valuable knowledge about solar and we invite you to ask our solar experts questions. Ever wonder how solar systems really work? Wondering how much money you will be able to save? Let us answer all of your questions, without a sales pitch.

Our expert solar energy speaker will give you real facts and answers about solar technology, tax incentives, how solar can pay for itself, and even the hot topic of Schedule Q and where KIUC stands on the issue.

We invite you to join us and learn about solar. Haleakala Solar will be offering this free seminar every Friday at 6pm. Be sure to come and gain some valuable knowledge about this exciting field.

For more information, please call Haleakala Solar’s Kauai showroom at (808) 246-8866.

The Scoop on Hawaiian Electric Company’s Solar Changes

According to a news release from Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii utilities have the highest percentage of customers with rooftop solar and the most solar watts per customer. Solar installations in the Aloha State have experienced major growth, doubling every year since 2008 and are on track to double or nearly double in 2013. With this continual demand and Hawaii’s renewable energy goal of 40% by 2030 in mind, Hawaiian Electric Company is implementing “changes to make adding solar faster, cheaper and fairer.”

On September 6, Hawaiian Electric Company announced a policy that requires their approval before solar photovoltaic systems can be installed. Hawaiian Electric Company is concerned about solar creating excess electricity that could damage the utility’s power grids, cause power outages, and harm utility workers.

Previously, contractors were able to install solar photovoltaic systems before hooking it up to the grid, so the stalling effects of this policy change has stunted the Hawaii solar industry during its busy season and left solar customers in limbo. Many customers took out loans or made upgrades to their roofs in preparation for a solar photovoltaic system that they now have to wait for.

Since the new policy went into effect, Hawaiian Electric Company agreed to grandfather in 228 customers who had their solar photovoltaic systems installed on or before September 6. Hawaiian Electric Company also changed the threshold that triggers an interconnection study from 75% of the daytime minimum circuit load to 100%, so more small PV systems (10 kW and under) can be added. The utility will be performing studies on “several representative circuits and will apply the results to as many projects as possible on similar circuits.” The first study should be completed by the end of the year, and the last one in the first quarter of 2014.

However, over 1,000 customers are waiting on an interconnection study and/or upgrades to the grid before their net energy metering (NEM) applications are given the green light.

Scott Seu, Vice President, Energy Resources and Operations, for Hawaiian Electric Co. wrote an article in Civil Beat that claimed “more than 80 percent of the circuits on Oahu have room for more solar without dealing with studies.” Yet, Civil Beat’s fact check on this percentage found this statement to be only half-true. Although it may be technically true that 80 percent of HECO’s total circuits can handle more solar without more studies, significantly more than 20 percent of customers who are looking to install solar photovoltaic panels in residential areas could encounter delays and perhaps additional costs.

On October 14, lawmakers called a hearing to discuss Hawaiian Electric Company’s photovoltaic changes. “It was a good start to a discussion about the future of our energy landscape in Hawaii and the viability of our utilities business model,” said Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection.

There is hope that Hawaii’s solar customers and companies will be given a better resolution. Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, has “asked Hawaiian Electric Company and the solar industry to report back to the Legislature by November 14 on the progress they’ve made in coming up with a solution.”

Hawaiian Electric Company’s map below shows solar penetration levels for Oahu. Areas highlighted with the darkest shade of blue have already hit the utility’s circuit threshold, which means that residents may have to pay for grid upgrades in order to connect a solar photovoltaic system for their home.

Map of Oahu Solar Saturation Levels

Map of Oahu Solar Saturation Levels

How Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels Work

It’s no small wonder that ancient civilizations worshipped the sun. The sun is amazing; providing energy, heat and light. It’s hard to imagine life on Earth without it. In modern times, we have found ways to harness the energy of the sun to create electricity. And not just a little bit of electricity… lots of it.

Solar Photovoltaic Systems In Hawaii

One technology that has developed to turn solar energy into electricity is called Solar Photovoltaics (or solar PV for short). It’s quite a popular way to harness solar energy and you’ve probably seen lots of PV panels popping up in your neighborhood on your neighbor’s homes, local grocery stores, etc. In fact, PV panels have been installed on many homes and businesses all over Hawaii for many years.

It’s a well-known fact that residents of Hawaii want to keep their islands as green, lush, and beautiful as possible, and one very good way to accomplish that is with the use of solar power through solar photovoltaics.

Solar PV Panels Can Now Harness Even More Solar Energy

Recent advancements in PV have greatly improved efficiency and amount of electricity solar panels can produce. Solar PV systems are now able to harness more of the abundant energy coming from the sun. There is so much solar energy coming from the sun. In fact, every hour the sun produces enough energy to power the planet for an entire year. Yes, that’s a lot of energy. So, it’s exciting that the newest break-throughs in PV allow for more gathering of the solar energy… which allows for creating more electricity to power our homes and businesses.

Here’s How It Works

Okay… guaranteed, you will feel like you’re back in your old Biology class in high school, but here we go…
Sunlight consists of tiny packets of energy called photons. These photos burst forth from the sun radiating out into space. The Earth is in prime location to these solar photons which hit the Earth after traveling a mere 93 million miles. It all happens very quickly, in the speed of light. These photons hit the surface of a semi-conductor on a solar panel and then the magic happens.

When you look at a photovoltaic solar panel more closely, you will find that each panel is made up of many individual cells. Each cell has a negative and a positive layer. This co-mingling with negative and positive creates an electric field, or electrons. So, the photons from the sun hit the panel and free some of these electrons in the semi-conductive field. The electrons then create an electric current which is then collected by wires that are connected to the negative and positive sides of the cell. The amount of electricity that is created is multiplied by the number of cells in each panel and the number of panels in each solar array. This creates a lot of electricity. Depending on the number of solar panels in a system, it could power your entire home or business.

From the solar PV panel, this DC (direct current) electricity then passes down to the inverter. The inverter changes the DC power into AC electricity which is needed for ordinary household uses.

For solar PV systems that have a battery backup (for those that want to be completely off the grid), the inverter has the special job of regulating the charge to the battery unit. The battery system is great since then the electricity stored in the batteries can then be used at night or during blackouts.

Advantages Of Using Solar Photovoltaic Energy

There are lots of advantages to using solar PV energy. The first one we have to mention is that it creates clean energy. How is that so? It has no emissions and no moving parts. It creates no pollution. It doesn’t even make any noise pollution. Solar PV doesn’t need any fossil fuels to run, or even water. And, it can be located right where the power is needed – right on the roof – or even out in the boonies. If you’ve dreamed of being completely off-the-grid, Solar PV is the way to do that, in combination with a good battery unit. Solar PV can also be tied into the power grid, allowing you to sell extra electricity that is not used back to the utility companies – a very valuable feature, indeed.

There’s no doubt that Solar Photovoltaic (solar PV) is growing fast and is an important element in our nation’s move toward a clean energy economy.