Smart Export and battery storage could be the next big thing

April 11, 2018

Energy storage will play a critical role in our transition to 100 percent renewable energy because we need the ability to use power from the sun when it’s not directly overhead. The peak period for rooftop solar generation, typically in the middle of the day, does not match up with our peak energy consumption, when everyone gets home from work in the evening. The Smart Export program is the first program that attempts to address this conundrum.

With Smart Export, customers receive a credit for sending energy to the grid from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. and no credit during the daylight hours when most of our circuits are already maxed out with solar generation. The key to making the program work to its full potential is battery storage. It is expected that participants will charge their batteries from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (since there’s no financial benefit to exporting the energy to the grid) and then have the energy available to themselves and to the grid as the typical solar energy tapers off and our thermal generation takes over.

What are the benefits?

Not only do participants save by using the energy they produce on-site, they will offset their total bill by providing solar energy to the grid at a time when it’s not usually available.

Then, when participants send excess power to the grid in the evening during a period of higher energy demand, overnight, and early morning hours, they receive credit on their monthly bills at these rates, or cents per kilowatt-hour: On Oahu, 14.97 cents; Hawaii Island, 11 cents; Maui, 14.41 cents; Molokai, 16.64 cents; and Lanai 20.79 cents. Hence, “Smart” exporting.

Advanced inverters and advanced metering technology will be used to manage the smart export of energy from battery storage systems to the electrical grid. It will provide customers with the ability to manage their systems and help maintain overall grid reliability.

Smart Export allows customers to rollover their unused monthly credits with an annual true-up. Only unused credits remaining at the end of the year will expire. This allows customers with the flexibility to use their credits throughout the year.

If your home has space for battery storage and you’re interested in investing in a rooftop solar system, you may want to consider Smart Export. To sign up for Smart Export, apply online at our Customer Interconnection Tool.

Watch a quick video on our two new programs, Customer Grid-Supply and Smart Export:

Here’s a video on the most commonly asked question: