Despite A Booming Industry, Hawaiian Utility Company Moves to Block Solar Energy

Although industry reports indicate that continued price reductions for all types of solar technology are expected to open new markets and help the solar industry reach $77 billion in revenue and 26.4 GW in capacity by 2015, some U.S. states are still seeing resistance to widespread adoption.

Recently, Hawai’i’s sole investor-owned utility company, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), moved to bar homes and businesses that buy their electricity from installing renewable energy systems like solar panels (EarthJustice).

If the utility is successful in blocking new solar installations, it would continue the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for over 96 percent of its energy needs and cause devastating harm to Hawai’i’s growing indigenous solar industry.

“This is a huge step backward for Hawai’i’s clean energy future,” said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of Blue Planet Foundation, one of several environmental organizations protesting the move. “Now is not the time to put the brakes on the clean energy industry, local jobs, and customer choice.”

To justify the moratorium, HECO has incorrectly claimed that solar panels will go dead every time a cloud or bird passes overhead, and that individual systems on home or business roofs will bring down the entire grid. HECO proposes to form a working group to study its concerns, according to EarthJustice.

Despite resistance from trepidatious fossil fuel power companies, scientists haven’t stopped looking for new ways to create fuel with the power of the sun.

Science Daily recently reported that have developed a potent homogeneous catalyst for water oxidation, considered a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight. “The long-term goal is to use sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen becomes the fuel. Its combustion produces the by-product of water — which flows back into a clean, green, renewable cycle.”

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Wayne National Forest

60 comments

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y.5 years ago

Here in California, voters just defeated a proposition by Pacific Gas and Electric that would have enacted similar restrictions on public/private energy cooperatives like Sacramento's SMUD.

Petroleum and coal-powered companies are scared to death of change and progress, because solar power would end their market share forever.

Between 4-5 kilowatt hours per square meter every day hits sunny areas in the U.S. By simply covering our houses, commercial buildings and parking lots with solar panels or even cheaper solar microfilms, all our urban and suburban areas could be completely self-sufficient in power forever. But this would be a huge threat to companies like Exxon, Shell and BP. Well, to hell with Shell and the rest! They are killing us slowly; let's get rid of them quickly.

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat5 years ago

Thanks

Meleah C.
Meleah Cordero6 years ago

If that is so, then that bill has passed because the people can see that this is the only way our planet is to survive! This is another case of the money grubbing monopolies of energy and oil making false accusations only to protect their non-renewable business!

Amanda B.
Amanda B.6 years ago

No company should have the right to dictate how an individuals home is powered (unless of course they are trying to build a Nuclear reactor in their back yard, or have the kids walking round a huge hamster wheel of course!)

What this is really down to is a country that knows the amount of sunshine hours that it has each day would mean the more people in Hawalli who opt for solar energy the greater threat it will be to the Hawallian Utility Comapny's profit margins. Rather than trying to resist the enevitable, which is their own demise with the depletion of carbon resources, perhaps they should consider doing what we have going on here in the UK. Householders generating their own power from renewable resources are actualy able to sell their excess energy to the National Grid, the more this initiative is adopted world wide the better, who knows? It could slow down the loss of non renewable resources.

Joan M.
J. MASSETTI6 years ago

HAWAII THE LAND OF SUNSHINE AND HECO IS CALLING THE SHOTS & DON'T WANT ANY COMPETITION IN THE ENERGY BUSINESS-BETTER THEY SHOULD STILL CHARGE RIDICULOUS PRICES FOR IMPORTING OIL FROM FOREIGN LANDS INSTEAD OF BECOMING AN EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD!!!

Jane H.
Jane H.6 years ago

This is really ironic!!! In a place where sun is great and free (after a while) they, I guess, want to still make money the old-fashioned way!! It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. Throw the bums out!!