Hawaiian Electric Co. is pushing ahead with two initiatives to boost the use of plug-in electric vehicles by reducing charging costs and increasing the availability of charging stations.
The state Public Utilities Commission recently approved the programs, one of which will waive the "demand charge" HECO and its subsidiaries normally assess commercial customers when their electricity consumption spikes above a certain level, HECO announced Wednesday.
HECO and its subsidiaries are rolling out the programs in the utility's service areas on Oahu, Hawaii island and the islands of Maui County.
Hawaii’s powerful solar photovoltaic industry has been beneficial to other businesses as well.
From advertising firms and finance companies to contractors and roofers, the PV industry’s impact has been diverse.
“I don’t know an electrical contractor that’s not doing PV,” Sunetric Chief Operating Officer Aaron Kirk told PBN. “The auto industry has benefited — a new truck that says a solar company on it is almost everywhere, and not to mention the graphics industry, designing graphics on trucks.”
Others that have benefitted include the city, which has provided more jobs for the meteoric rise in inspections and even hardware stores or electrical supply companies.
Hawaiian Electric Co. residential customers on Oahu will pay an average of 13 cents more a month over the next three years to cover the cost of preliminary studies HECO completed as part of its plan to generate wind energy on the neighbor islands and transmit it to Oahu via an undersea cable.
The Public Utilities Commission last week gave HECO final approval to collect $4.4 million from ratepayers to cover the costs for "Big Wind" implementation studies done in 2009 and 2010. The cost worked out to 0.021 cents a kilowatt-hour, or 13 cents a month for a typical residential HECO customer using 600 kilowatt-hours a month, according to HECO's filing with the PUC.
Oahu residential electrical rates fell in May to the lowest level so far this year, Hawaiian Electric Co. reported Tuesday.
The bill for a typical household using 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month was $199.59 in May, the utility reported. That's down $3.52 from $203.11 in April and is the lowest since $193.38 in December.
The residential rate on Oahu declined to 31.8 cents per kilowatt-hour in May from 32.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in April.
The monthly decline is due mostly to a reconciliation between projected and actual costs for electricity HECO buys from independent power producers, a utility spokesman said.
The PV panels, totaling 24 megawatts of generating capacity, will be installed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay and at various Navy housing facilities around the state.
SolarCity is partnering on the project with Forest City Military Communities, a private sector contractor that provides military housing. The project will be financed primarily by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, according to a news release from SolarCity and Forest City.
"Top Navy leaders support these initiatives because we are stronger, safer and less vulnerable when we embrace renewable energy and support sustainability in all of our communities," Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii, said Wednesday at a ceremony marking the launch of the project. "We need to diversify our energy resources and we need to build strong partnerships."