OCEAN VIEW — The state’s consumer advocate is siding with Ocean View residents in criticism of a plan to build acres of commercial solar panels in a residential area.
Accessed on 04 July 2016, 17:01 hrs, UTC.
Reporter: Bret Yager (“West Hawaii Today”).
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According to consumer advocate Jeff Ono, those developing a solar farm in a residential area of the Ocean View Estates subdivision “gamed the systems by breaking the project up into smaller farms so it wouldn’t have to follow the bidding protocol that normally accompanies commercial solar operations.”
In a report released Thursday, Ono agreed with Ocean View Estate residents that there were impacts on the area and “questioned whether the solar farms are in the public interest.” He also questioned the timetable for the project first proposed five years ago.
The plan by SPI Solar to build 27 solar farms in and around Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos has been opposed by “scores of homeowners, a former Public Utilities Commission chairwoman, and other energy experts.”
Ocean View Estates resident Ann Bosted told reporter Bret Yager that her neighbors have been denied due process and feared the solar farms would be “a detriment to the community”, which “forces the island’s utility company to buy the electricity at a high, fixed rate that is meant to benefit much smaller projects but in this case would giver big business a break while soaking ratepayers.”
Ono said , “In this instance, it is apparent that the Solar Project Owners effectively ‘gamed’ the FIT process in order to avoid going through the more rigorous competitive bidding framework.”
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