How Solar Works
Solar systems can be either connected to a utility grid and benefit from having access to power at any time, or the system can be off-grid and its reliability will depend on the effectiveness of a connected storage system, such as a battery.
Grid-Tied Solar Systems
Customer Self Supply (CSS)
Customer Self Supply (CSS) is intended only for solar PV installations that are designed to not export any electricity to the grid. Customers are not compensated for any export of energy however, new innovations in solar inverters and batteries allow storage of excess energy to be used later while still having the convenience of pulling power from the grid as needed.
Customer Grid Supply
Customer Grid Supply (CGS) has reached the PUC mandated 5 MW cap as of August 23, 2016
CGS customers receive a PUC-approved credit for electricity sent to the grid and are billed at the retail rate for electricity they use from the grid. CGS enables residential and commercial customers to connect distributed energy systems (up to 100 kW total output capacity) to the electric grid. CGS provides eligible customers with credits on their electric bills for excess electricity sent to the grid or energy delivered by HELCO to the customer-generator, whichever is less at a fixed rate of 15.14¢/kWh as approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. These credits can help customers offset all or part of their electrical usage and lower their bills. These customers are billed the retail rate for all electricity they use that they receive from the utility.
Net Energy Metering Program
Net Energy Metering (NEM) is closed as of October 12, 2015
Should you be lucky enough to have already been approved for this program you need to have your solar electric system installed before your expiration date on your approval letter from HELCO.
Once your solar system is installed, you will receive full credit for energy exported to the grid and have a year to use your stored power. The year begins the day your net meter is installed by HELCO and ends on the anniversary of the meter installation. Any excess kWh in your account will be erased and the cycle starts over. There is no expiration date on a NEM contract once the system is installed.