Hawaii Bill Would Mandate Solar Thermal Technologies

The Hawaii state legislature is considering a bill that would require all new homes to have solar water heating systems.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports the bill would require solar thermal water heaters in single-family homes built after Jan. 1, 2010. The legislation also restricts the current state solar thermal energy system tax credit to homes built before 2010. Furthermore, the bill allows for exemptions on homes in areas where there is minimal sunlight, if the solar thermal installation is too expensive, or if another alternative energy solution is in place.

Advocates for the legislation argue the rising cost of oil demands greater energy efficiency in Hawaii. However, the bill is opposed by the state's utility, Hawaiian Electric Co., and the local building and solar industries, which argue it places an unfair financial burden on home buyers.

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