While HECO said curtailment of renewables is sometimes necessary to balance generation and demand given the complexity of reducing output of larger central systems, it acknowledged that it also creates an uncertain revenue stream and can reduce incentives for project developers and investors.
“How do you sell something that has a big black hole on it?” Moriwake asked, referring to the uncertain payback from projects.
The answer to that question may not be revealed for a while, as the state’s solar industry waits to see how developers and investors respond to the new program.
For its part, the PUC acknowledged that the program is a work in progress. With a variety of ways to implement feed-in tariffs, there are “virtually unlimited adjustments that could theoretically be made,” according to the PUC.
The commission determined that the best course of action was to implement the program and make any necessary changes when it reviews the program in two years.
“If done right, this could definitely expand our market and our industry,” Duda said “But we’re not sure what we’ve got at this point.”