New Law Offers Solar Savings

Charles Djou
Charles Djou
Peter Rosegg
Peter Rosegg
Rick Reed
Rick Reed

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Using the sun to power up homes and businesses on Oahu just got more affordable, thanks to a new law that starts Friday.

The Earth and Sea Project continues with the City and County of Honolulu announcing it will cover even more of the cost to install solar power systems.

It depends on the size of your home or business, in the beginning, this move could save taxpayers $100,000 dollars a year.

That number rises, as more people here on Oahu use solar power. A brighter incentive for Oahu residents and business owners who want to install solar power systems.

The City and County of Honolulu will no longer charge permit fees.

"What the city gains is not only getting to protect the environment, but I think it's an important statement," said Charles Djou. "We live in Hawaii, we have great weather year round. If there's any community that should be taking advantage of the sun year round, it's the state of Hawaii."

Councilmember Charles Djou spearheaded the measure, which adds to the savings already associated with buying photovoltaic solar energy systems.

"Some of the institutions like schools and hospitals, by putting one of these panels, photovoltaic panels on their roof, they can get a steady supply of electricity at a fixed rate over a long period of time," said Peter Rosegg of Hawaiian Electric Company.

No more permit fees means a savings of $50 to $100 for a homeowner, and at least $1000 for businesses.

"This is a great day," said Rick Reed, Hawaii Solar Energy Association President. "It makes renewable energy more affordable and anything that does that is good for the community and certainly good for the State of Hawaii."

The Hawaii Solar Energy Association says last year, 5500 solar systems were installed in the state - the largest number in the U.S. In 2007.

The hope is, free permits will be an incentive to continue that trend.

Aside from saving people money, Djou says the new law also gets rid of any bureacratic red tape that may delay construction of energy-friendly buildings.