What are Rooftop Solar Tariffs?
Despite being the same word, “Tariff” for Solar PV in our context does not mean a surcharge on solar equipment imported into the U.S. (although they certainly exist). Rather, it refers to programs offered by the utility (HECO), to allow homeowners with Solar PV to legally connect to and interact with the electrical grid.
The programs below are available for new solar customers to install solar panels on their rooftops. Some programs work better with battery storage, and others may restrict exporting during certain times or when circuit capacity is reached to ensure grid stability. Below are explanations of the various tariffs/programs, as defined by HECO.
Customer Grid-Supply Plus (CGS Plus) systems must include grid support technology to manage grid reliability and allow the utility to remotely monitor system performance, technical compliance and, if necessary, control for grid stability.
Customer Self-Supply (CSS) is intended only for private rooftop solar installations that are designed to not export any electricity to the grid. Customers are not compensated for any export of energy.
Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) participants 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. The program remains open until the installed capacity has been reached.
The NEM Plus program is available for customers who would like to install additional solar panels on their rooftops.
Net Energy Metering Plus (NEM Plus) is available only to current NEM customers. It allows NEM customers to add non-export capacity to their home or business without affecting their NEM status. Customers may install new panels, battery storage, or a combination of both under this program. The output from the NEM Plus system is used solely on-site and is not allowed to export to the grid. The addition of the NEM Plus system does not affect the customer’s existing NEM agreement. This program benefits NEM customers whose energy demand routinely exceeds the supply provided by their rooftop solar or other renewable distributed energy resource (DER) system. It also benefits NEM customers who are considering renovations or purchases that increase electricity use, such as electric vehicles. There are no program capacity limits or queues, so there are no deadlines to meet. The only pre-requirement for participation is an executed NEM agreement.
Learn more directly from HECO: HECO Rooftop Solar Programs
Compare the Solar Programs: HECO Solar Programs Comparison (.pdf)
You are encouraged to do your own research and make an informed decision about which Solar Program is right for your situation. Your Solar Contractor should be familiar with all of these programs and should be able to assist you in choosing the best solution for you.