January 11, 2011

Water heaters go solar in Hawaii

In Hawaii, state lawmakers crafted legislation that was intended to both spur solar installations and reduce the electricity usage of homeowners throughout the state. However, many homebuilders are using a loophole to circumvent the new solar law.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, all new single family homes in the state must be equipped with solar water heaters as of January 1, 2010. Nonetheless, homebuilders last year were granted some 390 variances to avoid the installations - representing 22.5 percent of the 1,733 building permits issued for single family homes.

383 of those exceptions were given to homeowners who instead installed tankless gas water heaters in combination with another gas appliance as opposed to the solar water heater. Many solar power activists in the state affirm that the law needs to be amended to preclude residents from taking advantage of the loopholes.

Ron Richmond, a business development manager at Inter-Island Solar Supply, a distributor of solar water heaters and PV equipment, asserts: "The law needs to be tightened up."

While some lawmakers contend that the law is a success already - 80 percent of new single family homes have the solar heaters installed - there are growing calls to amend the bill. Lawmakers are currently debating ways to tighten up the laws, but no changes have been made yet.

Source: http://bit.ly/frggQ1

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