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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version

Last DSIRE Review: 09/02/2014
Program Overview:
State: Hawaii
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Municipal Solid Waste, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Amount:Rates for Tier 1 and Tier 2 vary by system size and technology
Rates for Tier 3 vary by technology
Terms:20 year contract
Eligible System Size:Systems up to 5 MW are eligible, though system size cap varies by technology and island
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:Utility
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
HI PUC Decision and Order, Docket 2008-0273
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
HI PUC Order, Docket 2008-0273
Authority 3:
Date Effective:
Hawaiian Electric Companies' Tier 1 and Tier 2 Tariffs
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
HI PUC Order, Docket 2008-0273, Tier 3 Rates
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
HI PUC Order 30635, Docket No. 2008-0273

Note: In August of 2013 the Hawaii Public Utility Commission initiatied an investigation into the Feed-In-Tariff Program in Docket No. 2013-0194 2013-0194.

In September 2009, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a decision that established a feed-in tariff in Hawaii. The feed-in tariff is offered by the three investor-owned utilities: HECO, MECO and HELCO. The rates for the feed-in tariff, schedule, and standard interconnection agreements were approved on October 13, 2010. This program will be reviewed by the PUC two years after the start of the program and every three years thereafter. The FIT for Tiers 1 and 2 opened November 17, 2010 for HECO and November 24, 2010 for HELCO and MECO. Rates for Tier 3 were approved November 22, 2011 and revised tariffs were filed by December 30, 2011. Currently, in-line hydropower's eligibility for Tier 3 has been deferred. Concentrating solar power Tier 3 projects are capped at 33% of the aggregate feed-in tariff cap for each of the HECO companies.

To apply for the feed-in tariff, applicants must register and apply online at the Independent Observer FIT web site. After January 3, 2012, systems must file a building permit application on the same day, or before applying for the feed-in tariff, unless no building permit is required by the county.

Several renewable energy technologies are eligible for the feed-in tariff, including solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), on-shore wind and in-line hydropower. Under this program, qualified projects will receive a fixed rate over a 20-year contract. There are three tiers for rates, with the tiers and rates differentiated by technology and system size. The maximum caps on system size vary by island and by technology. Tier 1 includes all islands and technologies where the project is less than or equal to 20 kilowatts-AC (kW-AC) in capacity. Tier 2 includes systems sized greater than 20 kW-AC and less than or equal to: 100 kW-AC for on-shore wind and in-line hydropower on all islands; 100 kW-AC for PV and CSP on Lanai and Molokai; 250 kW-AC for PV on Maui and Hawaii; 500 kW-AC for CSP on Maui and Hawaii; and 500 kW-AC for PV and CSP on Oahu. Tier 3 covers all systems larger than the Tier 2 caps, up to 5 megawatts-AC (MW-AC) on Oahu and 2.72 MW-AC on Maui and Hawaii. Wind projects on Maui and Hawaii are subject to the Tier 2 caps. The rates are as follows:

Feed-in Tariff Rates*


Tier Technology Eligible System Size Rate
Tier 1 Photovoltaics Less than or equal to 20 kW $0.218/kWh
Tier 1 Concentrating Solar Power Less than or equal to 20 kW $0.269/kWh
Tier 1 On-Shore Wind Less than or equal to 20 kW $0.161/kWh
Tier 1 In-line Hydro Less than or equal to 20 kW $0.213/kWh
Tier 2 Photovoltaics Greater than 20 kW, less than or equal to 500 kW $0.189/kWh
Tier 2 Concentrating Solar Power Greater than 20 kW, less than or equal to 500 kW $0.254/kWh
Tier 2 On-Shore Wind Greater than 20 kW, less than or equal to 100 kW $0.138/kWh
Tier 2 In-line Hydro Greater than 20 kW, less than or equal to 100 kW $0.189/kWh
Tier 3 Photovoltaics Greater than 500 kW, less than or equal to 5 MW $0.197/kWh
Tier 3 Concentrating Solar Power Greater than 500 kW, less than or equal to 5 MW $0.315/kWh
Tier 3 On-Shore Wind Greater than 100 kW, less than or equal to 5 MW $0.120/kWh
Baseline FIT Other RPS-Eligible Renewable Energy Technologies** Maximum size limits for facilities $0.120/kWh

In January 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Hawaii signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. This agreement established an aggressive goal to help Hawaii greatly increase its renewable and clean energy production capabilities, and to transition exclusively to renewable energy use on the smaller islands. Although the MOU is not legally binding, it has the potential to help reduce oil consumption in Hawaii by 72% if implementation is successful. In October 2008, the PUC opened a Docket No. 2008-0273 to review the development of a feed-in tariff. The creation of the feed-in tariff is in accordance with the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, and serves to formalize some of the goals established in 2008. All PUC orders pertaining to the feed-in tariff can be found in this docket.

* These rates are based on a system taking the 35% tax credit; if the tax credit refund option is used, there are higher rates allowed. See HECO's tariff for more information.

** Biofuel projects and hybrid projects using conventional fuels or biofuels are not eligible for the FIT.

  Public Information - Hawaii PUC
Hawaii Public Utilities Commission
465 South King Street, Room 103
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 586-2020
Web Site:
  HECO FIT Inquiries
Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 2750
Energy Procurement CP21-XB
Honolulu, HI 96840-0001
Phone: (808) 543-4044
Fax: (808) 543-7519
Web Site:
NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.