New solar installation rules likely to raise costs

HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii state board has issued new rules for solar panel installation that will require journeyman electricians to do more of the work. That move is expected to raise the costs of installing the panels.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the Board of Electricians and Plumbers will require that electricians handle bonding and grounding the system. Those are safety measures that keep people from getting shocked by diverting current into the earth.

Solar energy systems contractors have handled that step. Leslie Cole-Brooks, the executive director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association, says solar panels are now made such that an electrician isn't needed to ground and bond the systems safely. She says the rules change will make installations slower and more expensive.

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