Hawaii is ahead of Schedule for Renewable
Hawaii’s commitment to getting off fossil fuels is not hidden, and this change is definitely beneficial for Hawaiians too. Over the past few years, Hawaii has set itself apart from other states because of its renewable energy production and strong environmental commitment. Now, Hawaii is on the front lines to produce sustainable energy with its breakthroughs.
Exceeding Clean Energy Mandate
Renewable energy production has exceeded the state’s mandate in previous years, making it more realistic to reach its clean energy goals. The state has already made significant progress and successfully exceeded the goal of achieving 30 percent energy generation from renewables set forth for 2020. These achievements are largely due to investments in wind power generation and utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. This success can be attributed to below key factors.
- High electricity rates & huge demand pushed consumers towards PV systems
- The solar radiation levels in Hawaii are the best suitable for Solar energy generation
- Hawaii has a strong renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires state utilities to get maximum electricity from renewable sources
How utilities in Hawaii are revolutionizing their business model?
Hawaii is one of many states that have enacted legislation for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring local utilities to get an ample percentage of generated power from renewable sources. HECO made claims in 2020 that it generated 34.5% of its electricity from renewable sources which was welcomed news for those who care about the environment and climate change.
Recently, Hawaiian Electric announced that they are changing their energy business model by financially incentivizing homeowners to install more rooftop solar panels. The Utility faced a very tough time during the coronavirus pandemic but they were able to bounce back by increasing their renewable energy usage up to 32% and planning for more in upcoming years.
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is also moving forward with its plans to increase renewable energy usage. As told by spokesperson Beth Tokioka, their generation had more than 60% of renewable energy in 2020. In 2022, they are planning to get a huge portion of their power from solar and wind. Both, Hawaiian Electric and KIUC are well on their way to the state’s 40 percent target for 2040.
What Makes Hawaiians Passionate About Solar Power?
There has been an upsurge in solar power usage across the US. Hawaii, in particular, has been a leader when it comes to adopting solar power. In fact, over 80% of Hawaiians support increasing renewable energy production on the islands. One reason for their excitement may be that many of these residents have first-hand knowledge of how easy it is to adopt this form of renewable energy.
The cost of solar panels and installation dropped dramatically just a few years ago, making them much more affordable than they used to be. And there are many options available for financing as well.
President Joe Biden also emphasized on the elimination of fossil fuels till 2035. Deployments need to be effective to accomplish the goal. Continuous support from all stakeholders is a key to success.
As part of its efforts to ramp up renewable energy and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, Hawaii is now home to plenty of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
The state’s continuous sunshine has made it a hotbed for residential PV installations, resulting in 50 percent adoption rates by neighborhoods. Nearly half of Hawaiian Electric’s renewable production is obtained from grid-tied solar installations at consumer premises. As per data, around 65.6 MW is already added by customer-owned PV systems. This has led to a boost in self-reliance, lowering dependence on conventional energy sources.
Hawaii is already ahead of schedule for its goals to be powered by 100% renewable energy. If things continue at their current pace, it could be one of the first states in America to achieve such a goal.