Environmentalists, clean energy advocates decry efforts to slash popular solar tax credit

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Senate is looking to slash a popular solar tax credit.

But environmentalists and clean energy advocates say the measure will not only hurt the economy but will make it more difficult for the state to achieve its clean energy goals.

The Senate on Tuesday approved its version of House Bill 1174, which reduces the cap for residential solar tax credits from $5,000 to $2,500.

It also slashes the cap for commercial property owners from $500,000 to $250,000.

“Now is not the time just as we are trying to pull ourselves off the mat from the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Rocky Mould, executive director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association.

Solar installation companies employ about 4,300 people statewide. Installers like Scott McClain worry that the lower tax credits will mean less work.

“If you cut the tax credit ... I might be out of a job, many of my co-workers will be out of a job,” he said.

The move comes as state lawmakers are looking to bolster the state budget. Tax revenues have plummeted during the pandemic.

But clean energy advocates say the bill will also make it harder for the state to meet its renewable energy goals and reduce greenhouse gases.

“The state of Hawaii has a 100% renewable energy mandate by 2045,” said Mould.

“We’re really harming our future ability to hit these really vital renewal energy goals.”

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