Hawaiian Electric Industries is dealing right now with what is likely to become an industrywide problem of integrating rooftop solar power into old utility infrastructure. But that’s one of the big reasons why NextEra Energy wants to buy the company’s utility arm for $4.3 billion.
The Hawaiian problem
The big issue Hawaii’s largest, and virtually only, utility is facing is huge for the utility industry. Although California is the state with the most solar power installed, Hawaii has the most solar penetration. For example, around 10% of Hawaiian Electric’s customers on the island of Oahu have rooftop solar installed, well beyond the penetration rates in other states. Early last year the company complained that some “distribution-level circuits have rooftop PV capacity exceeding 100 percent of the daytime minimum load.”
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