FACT CHECK — Gene Ward: Solar Only A Tiny Portion of Oahu's Grid

Hawaii State Legislature

Visitors to Hawaii are often surprised by all the solar panels that dot the state’s rooftops.

Indeed, Hawaii ranked third in the nation in 2011 for the amount of solar installed per capita, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council

And solar companies fret that the amount of solar going up is quickly running up against Hawaiian Electric Co.'s constraints on the amount of solar the utility’s circuits can handle.

Still, solar energy only makes up a small amount — 3 percent — of Oahu’s electric grid, according to Rep. Gene Ward, who spoke Thursday at a joint committee hearing at the Legislature on the governor’s fiscal plan.

His comments were in reaction to the state’s recent curtailment of the amount of solar tax credits that homeowners and businesses can claim on solar installations. A recent report from the state energy office projects that Hawaii’s renewable energy tax credits will cost the state $174 million in 2012, up from $35 million in 2010. The number has raised concerns that the credits have become too costly as the the solar industry explodes.

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