The reaction to the PUC October 12 Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Decision and Order among solar installers have stark differences. For example, on one hand you have a local entrepreneur quoted in Utility Dive:
“It’s a good overall package of changes that needed to happen,” said Chris DeBone, Hawaii Energy Connection CEO and former president of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association. "Nobody likes change, but this is in the best interests of Hawaii.”
The technology advances driven by the new policies “will catalyze changes needed to get to 100% renewables,” DeBone added.On the other hand, you have TASC, an alliance of out of state, investor-owned corporations trying to capture and monopolize the roof-top solar market nationally with its third party ownership model as quoted in GreenTech Media:
Bryan Miller, senior vice president of policy at Sunrun, criticized the PUC's decision for being wildly out of step with Hawaii's politics.
“The decision will not stand," he said. "It will be reversed either in the political process or in the courts, but it will not stand one way or the other.”
"I’m so confident," he added, "because over 90 percent of the public in Hawaii says they want more solar, not less. This is going to result in a lot less solar, and will hurt low-income and middle class customers the most."To say that the TASC Complaint is self-serving would be an understatement with the Plaintiffs asserting statements like the following:
44. As a result of the Decision, TASC members can continue to do business in Hawaii only by significantly increasing prices to customers, or by incurring significant additional costs, to offset the adverse economic effects of the Decision.
45. TASC members either sell solar energy systems to customers outright, or enter into long term leases or power purchase agreements with customers. To the extent that TASC members are able to continue to sell solar energy systems at reduced prices or by incurring additional costs while the Decision is in effect, they have no opportunity to recoup those lost revenues or increased costs, even if the Decision is later found to be unlawful. (page 8)Statements from other solar installers dispute the above assertions saying rooftop solar is still an attractive investment under the new grid-supply tariff. These installers peg the payback period between 6 to 8 years (rather than 5 to 7 years under net energy metering) while a local economist calculates the return of revenue between 7.5-9%.
38. The PUC singled out TASC because it sought "resolution of issues in this docket outside of the collaborative process," by speaking to the media on issues of important public policy. Further, the PUC indicated it "will closely scrutinize the behavior of TASC and its counsel in Phase 2 of this docket" and would remove TASC if it continues to "jeopardize the collaborative process" by interacting with the media.
39. The PUC's actions have and will continue to chill TASC's freedom of speech.One can easily eviscerate the Complaint's lack of understanding and misinterpretation of cost of service regulation/ratemaking process and administrative law. But even more evident is TASC lack of a basic understanding of the PUC's sole role over the regulated electric utility and its operations to advance the public interest. TASC's arguments make it appear that it is the PUC's duty to guarantee TASC's non-regulated members a profit.
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