Intelligent energy storage leader Stem, Inc. has been selected as a partner by Hawaiian Electric Companies to help the utility integrate distributed resources and improve grid planning. The partnership is part of a research program funded by DOE SHINES to the tune of $2.43 million, with another contribution of the same amount by the utility. (Actually, there were 6 total awardees which received funds from the program.)
SHINES is the first DOE funding effort which is only about the union of energy storage and renewable electricity. The Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV program is sort of self-explanatory. It is a DOE program that supports adding energy storage to solar PV projects for the obvious reason that sunlight is not available 24 hours a day, so any excess electricity that can be stored would be beneficial.
“The distribution grid today is trying to cope with rapid increases in bi-directional flow of distributed generation resources. Because of limited point-to-point visibility and controls to grid operation centers on distribution grids, a sudden influx or drop off of DG in local pockets can have adverse and costly impacts,” explained Dora Nakafuji, the Director of Hawaiian Electric’s Renewable Energy Planning Division.
Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative is warning about the public about door-to-door solar salespeople identifying themselves as KIUC employees or contractors.
KIUC has received more than a dozen calls and complaints from members saying that solar salespeople are telling them they work for KIUC and are helping members lower their electric bills by installing rooftop solar.
KIUC says employees of more than one company are involved. This is the second time in the past six months that KIUC has alerted members about salespeople stating or implying that they work for the co-op.
KIUC says it does not sell rooftop solar systems and does not employ anyone selling the systems. KIUC also does not endorse or recommend particular solar installers.
"If salespeople have to use the KIUC name to get in the front door, then they need to work on a new sales pitch," said Jim Kelly, manager of member services and communications for KIUC. "They don’t work for KIUC. They don’t work with KIUC. If they’re representing legitimate solar contractors then they should stand on their own and not suggest that the co-op is endorsing their product."
The Public Utilities Commission praised Hawaiian Electric Co. on Monday after the utility said it approved almost 2,000 pending rooftop solar systems in March.
HECO approved 1,987 solar system applications on Oahu during March, the utility said in a March 31 filing with the PUC.
In February, PUC Chairman Randy Iwase and HECO CEO Alan Oshima signed an agreement that said HECO has a "duty" to approve solar systems.
QUESTION: What would you say to people who are on the fence about getting an electric vehicle (EV)?
ANSWER: Do the math. You often look at the upfront cost, but you don't look at the amount of gas you are going to save and the amount on maintenence you are going to save because you are paying electricity instead of gasoline.
Q: Even with Hawaii's electricity rates?
A: Even with our rates -- believe it or not, because of the efficiency of electric vehicles.
Enphase Energy Inc. said Tuesday that locally owned Hawaii Energy Connection and Lehi, Utah-based Vivint Solar are two of the three companies in the U.S. that will run a pilot program for Enphase's battery and energy management system.