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Hawaii's solar power flare-up: Too much of a good thing?

LA Times -- So many private solar panels are returning power to the grid that utilities fear their systems can't handle it all.

WAILUKU, Hawaii — On an island whose stock in trade is sun, and lots of it, Lawrence and Cindy Lee figured they'd be foolish not to join their neighbors and put a few solar panels on the roof.

The Lees called one of the solar contractors racing around Hawaii these days, and put in their order. Eleven months later, in October — after endless consultations, emails and a $3,000 study required by Maui Electric Co. — they were still waiting for a permit.

"Instead of it being like they want to help you get your solar system in," Lawrence Lee said, "it's more like they don't want you to."

Solar power has grown increasingly popular across the U.S. Sun Belt,


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Submitted Nov 18, 2012 By: LetemEatCake
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Hawaii's solar power flare-up: Too much of a good thing? Back to Topics
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
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Ray_10589
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Nov 20, 2012 12:24:53 AM

solar is great...
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SycamoreISU
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 11:12:39 AM

When the wind gets too strong or if power needs are met, wind turbines shut down. Perhaps something similar can be set for solar power.
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F81M
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 10:58:46 AM

Of course the power company isn't in a big hurry. They lose money when you sell rather than buy.
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Norm10
Champion Author British Columbia

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 10:49:39 AM

Maybe they should consider selling it to someone who can use it.
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eschroth442
Champion Author Cleveland

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 9:20:21 AM

put in the panels and don't connect it to the grid. run off the grid. Tell the power company to stuff it.
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AnObserver
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 9:15:02 AM

If solar can stand on its own with without tax credits - go for it
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leeac
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 5:16:21 AM

There is no such thing as too much solar energy. It is simply a management problem. This is a wonderful problem to have.
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NedW
Champion Author Indianapolis

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 4:55:52 AM

I hope the panels were manufactured domestically.
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quasar502
Champion Author Lansing

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 3:58:46 AM

Status quo never seems to want change does it?
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 2:34:05 AM


Why is it a problem when solar power generated on a homeowner's roof varies as clouds pass over the house, but not a problem when the same power is generated by solar panels owned by the electric utility company? Don't clouds ever interfere with the utility companies' solar panels?

The problems of variable sunlight can be solved with good engineering and design, so it's a specious argument, and residential solar systems don't produce power uncontrollably on a bright sunny day. They have electronic regulators installed as part of the system.

I think the utility companies are becoming concerned that all those solar panels are eating into their profit margin. They didn't worry about it before, but now there are so many residential solar installations that it's taking over a big chunk of their generating capacity, and profits.
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hilogirl65
Sophomore Author Las Vegas

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 2:23:50 AM

Love how big business hinders green energy. Even in local government
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teafortwo
Champion Author Washington

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 2:21:58 AM


Interesting article.

Thanks for sharing Cakeman ;0}
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UseLessGasFolks
Champion Author Iowa

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:57:58 AM


A good problem to have.
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jackson661
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:55:07 AM

Unstable.
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RENEGADEGAS
Champion Author Missouri

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:50:22 AM

Going green sure pays off, huh? Way to much money!
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TBONE3
Champion Author Pennsylvania

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:42:17 AM

Guess Hawaii just has too much sunshine per day. That proves we can produce enough home made power to scare the BIG power companies. Now ain't that somethin special???
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TheRedFez
Veteran Author Las Vegas

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:41:56 AM

Having too much power available is like having too much money. These folks need to find something worth complaining about.
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wcp3rd
All-Star Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:41:25 AM

ok
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Bubba44612
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:40:54 AM

Power companies don't make any money from solar.
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rahcat
Champion Author Grand Rapids

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:40:05 AM

Too cloudy in west Michigan.
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mcmonsta
Champion Author Honolulu

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:38:17 AM

yes....but ...wait ....but...maybe...but....we can't afford you to do it
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rosyLI
Champion Author Long Island

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:37:41 AM

Solar power is a fools game.
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TxPDawg
Champion Author Austin

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:33:03 AM

ok
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SkooterG
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:27:39 AM

Fascinating. Some important lessons to be learned from Hawaii.
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kgbellman
Champion Author Ann Arbor

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:27:36 AM

ricebike, I agree. But again, it is the difference between the ice or swimming suit industry in Hawaii vs. Alaska. Hawaii has so much sun, they can't handle that much electricity being generated, whereas a less sunny area (Seattle ??) might welcome more of this "problem"
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kiss4afrog
All-Star Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:26:24 AM

Read the article. Their problem is their "grids" aren't a grid but a series of individual non-connected grids and the solar is overpowering some of the grids.
It's working too well !! Wish the rest of us could afford to put some panels on our roofs to defray some of our own electric cost.
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BCM1
Champion Author Pennsylvania

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:23:43 AM

Would you help a competitor take your business?
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ricebike
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:23:38 AM

"They DON'T want you to install solar panels; they want you to pay them more for more electricity"

i agree
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chyguy3
Champion Author Wyoming

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:22:25 AM

these may go the way of the dodo bird or wind generators
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comprof
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:21:01 AM

Just another example of government promoting things to get votes using taxpayer money without bothering to think about the overall sequences of what they were doing.
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wally52
Champion Author Little Rock

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:20:35 AM

It's nice if you have sun all the time.
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jwalkerh
Champion Author Louisiana

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:20:02 AM

Too much of a good thing???
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Eugenian
Champion Author Oregon

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:18:35 AM

A nice problem to have.
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hubcapLA
Champion Author Louisiana

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:18:02 AM

If you do or if you don't, you are still held up by government
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joeschmo12
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:16:40 AM

can't handle the heat, huh?
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nztyraider
Champion Author Nevada

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:16:22 AM

No not too much.
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wshokie12
Champion Author Winston-Salem

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:14:56 AM

This should be a good thing.
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Dodge_Me
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:13:32 AM

Why the red tape?
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Vette1967
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:11:59 AM

Sounds like they need a storage system.
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probedude2
Champion Author Akron

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:09:38 AM

They DON'T want you to install solar panels; they want you to pay them more for more electricity
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Tigercat88
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:08:09 AM

Hawaii is one of the only places it would work like this.
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vulcan96
Champion Author Ohio

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:02:35 AM

store the excess in batteries, use inverters to change it back to ac when needed.
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Buddy2264
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 1:00:00 AM

I have not seen that much here in Florida. I cannot see how this is a problem, as it reduces the generation during the day of other sources. The problem is in not being about to store the excess solar for use at another time, this has to change.
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zcolt45
Champion Author Michigan

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:59:43 AM

So much for going Green.
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millerin
Champion Author Orlando

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:55:57 AM

hmm...
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Tiernan
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:55:40 AM

Well, it SEEMED like a good idea, at first.
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jorod55
Champion Author California

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:54:50 AM

Be careful what you wish for.
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1momsunshine
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:49:13 AM

OK
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Rooster922
Champion Author Wilmington

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:48:38 AM

really
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10k
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Nov 19, 2012 12:48:33 AM

my solar panels are for hot water only..until today, my hot water breakers had been off since sometime in the early spring, but i had to flip the breakers for a coupla hours, cause we've had clouds and more clouds, and not enough daylight ;(
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