The legislature passed SB644, which requires a solar water heater system for new single-family residential construction built after January 1, 2010, and phases out state solar tax credits by 2010. It has yet to be signed into law by the Governor.
The cost of such a mandate will likely affect homeowners in higher housing costs, but does the extra cost pencil out? According to a piece written for the American Chemical Society titled, Expert foresees 10 more years of R&D to make solar energy competitive, "[d]espite oil prices that hover around $100 a barrel, it may take at least 10 or more years of intensive research and development to reduce the cost of solar energy to levels competitive with petroleum[.]" Chemist Harry Gray is reported as saying, “Solar can potentially provide all the electricity and fuel we need to power the planet. The Holy Grail of solar research is to use sunlight efficiently and directly to ’split’ water into its elemental constituents – hydrogen and oxygen – and then use the hydrogen as a clean fuel.”
How much money has the state allocated to solar research and other alternative fuels unique to Hawaii? Seems like such funding might be a better approach rather than mandates which will hit home-buyer's pocket books in a waning economy.
The American Chemical Society is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.