People in Hawaii who drive electric cars can now get 60 percent off their charging costs if they participate in a new pilot program sponsored by the vehicle charging company OpConnect Hawaii and the ratepayer-funded entity Hawaii Energy. According to an Apr. 15 press release from OpConnect, the program is for “verified Net Energy Metering (NEM) customers”–people who already have “an approved photovoltaic system” installed at home. (This is one aspect where Hawaii is leading the nation: “About 12 percent of Oahu residents have rooftop solar, compared to the U.S. average of 0.50 percent,” states the press release.)
Anyway, here’s the press release on what the program’s about:
Hawaii Energy, the ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program serving Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu, is aiming to find out at what price PV customers would be willing to charge their EVs during the day when renewable energy is most abundant. This would shift EV charging electric loads to off-peak demand hours rather than peak hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. when the majority of residents return home and usually start charging.
It’s also apparently easy for people to sign up:
To receive the 60 percent discount, participants are required to follow these steps: 1) Sign up to become a free OpConnect member online, obtain a membership number and add funds for future charges. 2) Participants will receive an email to verify their electric utility account. 3) Once verified, participants enter their member number when charging their EVs. The discount will be automatically applied at the end of the charging session.
There are OpConnect charging stations throughout Maui and Hawaii (click here for a map).
“We look forward to the pilot results that can provide valuable insights about what incentives are needed to change the charging habits of EV drivers,” said Joe Simpkins, Program Operations Manager, Hawaii Energy, in the Apr. 15 press release. “With effective behavioral change, this could be a successful load-shifting strategy to reduce peak demand on the electrical grid.”
Though the pilot program originally launched in March, said Hawaii Energy spokesman Rob Deveraturda in an Apr. 17 email, “EV drivers can now get a 60% discount on charging versus the previous 40%.”
Photo courtesy OpConnect