Solar supporters demonstrate, HECO to release energy plan TuesdayUPDATED 10:39 PM HST Aug 25, 2014Video Transcript
Tomorrow, Hawaiian Electric is expected to release its energy plan -- to show how residential solar power will connect to the grid in the future.. Many installers and residents have been in "limbo" waiting for the plan. So much so, the number of PV permits issued has dropped in half. KITV4's Paul Drewes takes us to a demonstration in support of solar. This is all new at Ten-- nat of singing With songs and signs, these demonstrators gathered for a candlelight vigil. Many even stopped by to sign a get-well card...Because they are worried about the health of Hawaii's solar industry. cover this bite with sick solar panel caitlin@11:30 "we've got our solar panel on life support and we know that solar has been struggling" jeff@7:35 "heco has hindered the installations to the point where the industry is no longer flourishing so its kinda sick" The solar industry used to be scorching hot, but then HECO, citing safety concerns, tightened up regulations over where new solar panel installations could take place. The additional red tape has forced some once prosperous companies into the red. David@8:28-8:43 "we've had to lay off over a dozen people since they imposed these regulations, these are guys with families because they can't earn a living with solar they are on unemployment" caitlin@13:55-14:13 "solar has been one of the most successful clean energy stories, it represents the best use of local resources and its just common sense. Hawaii needs solar, we need a solar success story." four months ago, the state Public Utilities Commission came out with rulings requiring Hawaiian Electric Companies to accommodate greater amounts of renewable energy A day before the deadline, HECO released this statement - We continue to work closely with Hawaii's solar industry, to ensure we can deliver solar power safely and reliably for all of our customers. We look forward to filing our plans tomorrow that outline specific actions for adding significantly more solar. But Ewa beach resident Will Walker remains skeptical. He had solar panels installed on his roof last October, and was told HECO was looking into hooking them to the energy grid, but they remain unconnected now -- 8 months later. will@15:57-16:10 "I don't have faith in HECO anymore doing the right thing on their own. I think it will take the people pushing them in the right direction, lawmakers, and the PUC pushing them in the right direction" nat of last song This group also hopes HECO gets the message -- through this demonstration, just how important solar is to many in Hawaii. Along with calling for easier and cheaper connections for people putting in solar panels, the demonstrators are also calling for more transparency over Hawaii's entire energy grid. That way residents can verify if something is or isn't needed and is really in the best interest of all of us. Yunji.