A temporary change in state tax policy put in place a year ago that limits the ability of homeowners and businesses to claim multiple tax credits for solar systems has been made permanent.
The temporary administrative rules were an attempt by state Department of Taxation officials to provide clarity and uniformity to the tax credit program and to reduce the amount of tax revenue being lost as the value of credits being claimed soared.
When the rules were announced last fall, there was a consensus among policymakers and industry officials that the state Legislature would probably pass a law during the spring session ratcheting down the tax credits over a multiyear period, thereby making the administrative rules no longer necessary.
Declines for a third consecutive quarter weigh against tighter tax credits and HECO rules
Installations of solar photovoltaic systems in Hawaii dropped for the third consecutive quarter, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industry Associated that attributed the decline to new utility guidelines for connecting to the grid and stricter rules for claiming renewable energy tax credits.
Homes and businesses installed a total of 24.7 megawatts of PV generating capacity in the third quarter, down 17 percent from 29.7 megawatts installed during the previous three-month period, the SEIA said in a report to be released today. Both residential and commercial installations declined.
An overwhelming majority of Hawaii voters oppose charging a fee to utility customers who install solar photovoltaic panels, according to the results of a poll released Wednesday.
The poll, conducted for Pacific Resource Partnership and the Sierra Club of Hawaii, also found that public support for solar energy in Hawaii is stronger than what other polls have shown for the nation as a whole.
Of those polled, nearly 5 out of 6 said they oppose charging utility customers an additional fee for installing PV panels. Conversely, just 13 percent said they supported a fee, while 5 percent said they were undecided.
Hawaii's two electric companies — Hawaiian Electric Co. and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative — are investing in technology they say will eventually allow them to accommodate greater amounts of rooftop-generated solar power on their power grids.
But for now some homeowners who want to install photovoltaic systems in neighborhoods already saturated with PV panels have to pay out of their own pocket for new transformers and other equipment upgrades the utilities say are necessary to mitigate safety and reliability risks posed by high amounts of intermittent solar energy.
HECO brags about supporting clean energy, but they're working behind the scenes to block your right to go solar and reduce your electric bills. They're throwing up roadblocks because they see solar as a threat to their antiquated business model.
Solar and other clean, renewable technologies are the future of Hawai'i. We are blessed with abundant natural resources and there's no reason we can't achieve energy independence. Add your name to the growing chorus of voices demanding that we move Hawai'i into the 21st century by building a modern, clean, smart grid.