Hawaiian Electric reports record increase in solar capacity

Published on January 21, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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Solar capacity in Hawaii jumped 21 percent in 2019 – the largest annual increase ever in the state, according to Hawaiian Electric.

Solar capacity increased from 745 cumulative installed megawatts in 2018 to 902 megawatts at the end of 2019. Currently, there are about 3.5 million solar panels producing electricity on Hawaiian Electric’s five grids.

Last year, three solar arrays built by Clearway Energy Group totaling 110 megawatts came online, along with Hawaiian Electric’s West Loch solar array in Oahu, which is producing 20 megawatts.

Overall, nearly 3,500 new systems across Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui County were completed last year. The company has a goal of having 30 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020.

Further, the installation of residential rooftop solar systems among customers increased by 4.6 percent in 2019. Hawaii leads the nation in rooftop solar adoption. About 19 percent of residential customers in Hawaiian Electric’s five-island service territory are using rooftop solar, up from 18 percent the previous year. That’s almost thrice the amount of the second-place state, California.

“The numbers show the adoption of residential rooftop solar remains strong, increasing year after year across all of our islands,” Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service, said. “Rooftop solar is a critical piece of the renewable mix, and our plans call for tripling the amount already installed to help move the state toward a clean energy future.”

There are now 81,783 solar systems online in the state, capable of producing 902 megawatts.