Solar panels for new homes will become law

Jeff Mikulina
Jeff Mikulina
Regina McGinnis
Regina McGinnis
Danielle Niewald
Danielle Niewald

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A bill requiring new homes to have solar panels escaped the Governors veto list, but she's going to let it become law without her signature.

The Solar Roof Law is intended to make the cost of living in Hawaii more affordable, by cutting down on electricity use. Right now, only one in every four households are using solar energy to heat water. Some feel thats too little considering the great weather our state enjoys year round.

"It makes sense in areas like Hawaii where we get so much sunlight not to put it to use," Jeff Mikulina of the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter.

Some residents are already enjoying the benefits of solar energy. Regina McGinnis is from Michigan and for her and her husband, the sun translates into savings.

"We didn't even need our hot water heater for about six months," said Oahu Resident Regina McGinnis.

For others, the rising costs of everything in Hawaii including fuel is enough for them to see that using solar energy is not only smart, it's neccesary.

"I think we need to do whatever we can to save money and if it means we have to use solar power, then, by all means," said Oahu Resident Dannielle Niewald.

The law is the first of it's type in the nation. Lawmakers here hope it wll have a ripple effect across the rest of the country and beyond.

"We really need to be the center of renewable energy development in the world and this is a good start in that direction," said (D) Senator Gary Hooser

Just one way of saving money and the environment by tapping into one of hawaii's most abundant natural resources.

The Solar Roof Llaw takes effect January 1, 2010.

Homeowners who install solar panels before then can still take advantage of a tax credit.

After 2010 they will still be eligible for the federal tax credit, but not the state credit, which is up to 35 percent of the cost of the system.