Introduction: Battery Bonus Program incentives improved and expanded from Oahu to Maui!
Hawaiian Electric's Battery Bonus program has been a revolutionary transition regarding how utilities interact with homeowners' demand for solar and home batteries. HECO has improved the program by adding additional incentives for homeowners to add PV and the Tesla Powerwall 2 and expanding the program to Maui!
The Battery Bonus program began in response to closing its largest coal-fired power plant on Oahu. The plant produces around a fifth of Oahu's electricity forcing HECO to find a more sustainable and quick to deploy solution for the lost electrical production.
HECO, the Public Utilities Commission, and Sunrun identified that the most economical and sustainable way to add electrical production, energy storage, and resiliency to the grid in Hawaii is via residential solar and home batteries.
In order to speed up this transition, numerous financial incentives have been designed to make adding more solar and batteries an even better financial decision for homeowners across Oahu and Maui. These incentives are limited, so let's take a look at them, so you can start the process of moving to a cleaner and more affordable energy future as soon as possible!
Battery Bonus Program: How it started and how it has been helping Oahu customers save on solar and home batteries
In the fall of 2021, Hawaiin Electric announced the Battery Bonus Demand Response program on Oahu. The program is built on the simple truth that the most efficient and fast way to increase renewable energy production on Oahu is to incentivize homeowners to add solar panels and home batteries.
Because of Hawaii's goal to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045, the Public Utilities Commission has mandated the HECO to close down the AES Hawaii Power Plant in 2022. The AES Hawaii Power Plant in Kapolei produces 1/5 of Oahu's electricity but also is one of the largest polluters in the state.
To address the lost electricity production, HECO, the PUC, and Sunrun worked together to develop the Battery Bonus program on Oahu. Initially, the program was designed to incentives customers who had Net Energy Metered (NEM) solar systems to add additional solar and home batteries.
Encentivesing homeowners with previous NEM systems made sense to start because it allowed for more electricity to be sent back into the grid during the day and electricity to be stored in a homeowners battery for HECO to pull from during the time of day when the island electrical demand is highest, 6–8 PM.
In exchange for sending more electricity back into the grid and storing power in a homes battery for HECO to pull from, customers on Oahu received special incentives and benefits from HECO.
The first thing customers could do was add up to 5 kw of additional net-metered solar panels. NEM customers in the past could not add additional solar, forcing them to purchase the additional electricity they needed from HECO. Unfortunately, buying electricity from HECO has become increasingly expensive, as HECO has raised 10-20% rates in the past year!
The second thing that customers received was a $2500-$3500 rebate for adding LG Chem RESU home solar battery. The rebate covers a large portion of the cost of adding a battery. Covering such a large part of the battery cost helps address Oahu's electricity needs and provides homeowners with protection from power outages. Considering Oahu experiences tens of thousands of power outages, this additional security is invaluable for homeowners across the state.
The program's third benefit was providing homeowners with an additional bill credit of around $10. The additional credit is designed to help cover the cost of any electricity that is pulled from the battery from 6-8 PM. This credit protects the financial benefit of adding additional solar, making the Battery Bonus program a huge win for customers across Oahu.
Improved Battery Bonus Program: How HECO has updated the Battery Bonus Program for homeowners on Oahu and Maui!
Awareness of the Battery Bonus program has driven increased interest in solar and home batteries on Oahu, especially as electricity costs have gone up due to the conflict in Ukraine. With awareness of the program increasing, HECO has improved the program and expanded it to Maui!
The new program details expand the program beyond the one-time battery rebate to improve the economics of adding a battery and solar.
Hawaiian Electric looked to solar experts across Hawaii to figure out ways to improve the battery bonus program. As a result, the improvements benefit homeowners on Oahu and Maui and are as follows:
Customers adding solar and home batteries, who are not under net energy metering, will receive a bill credit equal to the total retail cost of HECO electricity when they export power from the battery back into the grid during the two-hour window during the evening peak. This credit will be available to customers for three years.
A $5-per-kW monthly payment for the peak capacity of the battery during the entire 10-year window that the Battery Bonus program will be in place. For the Tesla Powerwall 2 customers, this will be an additional $25 monthly savings. This payment will be made as a bill credit unless the bill is eliminated. If the HECO bill is eliminated, the customer will get a check.
Customers can now add as much solar as they need, no longer being limited to 5-kW of solar. The only requirement is that the solar size is no more than twice the size of the battery.
Customers who add the Tesla Powerwall 2 will receive a $4,250 payment per battery!
The expansion of the Battery Bonus program makes the economics of solar on Oahu and Maui some of the best in the nation. It is important to remember that the driving factor behind the Battery Bonus program is the conflict in Ukraine and Hawaii's goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy.
The new incentives do not step down on Maui, but on Oahu will be stepping down as more customers get enrolled in the program. It is essential to understand how this step-down works, but if you are on Maui and Oahu and are interested in maximizing your savings, schedule a free consultation.
The Battery Bonus program is capped at 50 MW supplied from storage among all participants on Oahu and Maui. On Oahu, the rebate for storage will decrease as more homeowners enroll in the program.
The payments will decrease as follows:
Customers will receive $850 per kW for each kw of storage for the first 15 MW storage installed. Again, this is a $4,250 rebate for customers who install the Tesla Powerwall 2!
Customers will receive $750 per kW for each kw of storage for the next 15 MW storage installed.
Customers will receive $500 per kW for each kw of storage for the first 20 MW storage installed.
The additional details of the program are essential to understand for homeowners. The Hawaii Battery Bonus Program is currently set to last for ten years.
Homeowners must use and/or export the electricity stored in their battery to HECO from 6 PM to 8:30 PM. If the cap is not reached, the program will end on June 20, 2023. Homeowners are also not limited in how much energy storage they can add, ensuring that homeowners can get the right system for their specific needs.
Battery Bonus Program: Why Alchemy Solar and Sunrun are the best partners for the Battery Bonus Program!
When homeowners in Hawaii are looking for partners for handling their Battery Bonus solar and battery project, they are looking for partners who they can rely on, have the best options available, and fully understand the unique aspects of Hawaii.
Alchemy Solar and our partner Sunrun are uniquely positioned to accomplish all of these for homeowners across Hawaii. One of Alchemy Solar's Co-Founders was the President of the Hawaii Solar Association.
As a result, Alchemy Solar is focused on making sure that our team members live on Island, helping ensure that we can fully answer specific questions about the Battery Bonus Program, and will be on Island to help answer any questions that a customer has.
With our relationship with Sunrun, we give our customers access to the nation's largest solar company. The relationship with Sunrun means that our customers get the best equipment, installations, access to additional utility savings programs like the Kukui Hele Pō Program, and support with their solar and battery projects.
Our customers get access to the Sunrun Bightbox $0 down solar and battery solution. In addition, Brightbox allows customers to get protection from power outages, utility savings, protection from the 10-20% rate increase resulting from the conflict in Ukraine, and the added benefits of the Battery Bonus program.
With the combination of Alchemy Solar and Sunrun, homeowners on Oahu and Maui get the support of local solar experts and the backing of a solar company that they can trust to be around to stand behind its warranties! This combination is why customers homeowners across Hawaii are coming to Alchemy Solar and Sunrun to help them add solar and energy storage to their homes.
Conclusion: Battery Bonus Program is a game-changer for Hawaii, and Alchemy Solar is the best partner for homeowners!
Homeowners across Maui and Oahu are excited to take advantage of the Battery Bonus Program. Solar and home batteries have never made more sense in Hawaii.
The Battery Bonus Program provides enormous financial benefits for customers. When combined with the protection that comes from battery backup, now is the time for homeowners to install solar and home batteries.
People thought adding solar and batteries were something they could not afford. But, with the Battery Bonus rebate, solar savings, and access to Sunrun's $0 down options, solar can save everyone money. At Alchemy Solar, we want to ensure everyone gets a solar panel system that accomplishes all of their goals. Do not wait to look into solar because the Battery Bonus program will not last forever!
If you are interested in learning if you qualify for the Battery Bonus Program to add solar and home batteries to your home, schedule a free consultation with Alchemy Solar today!