H.B. NO.



H.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  Act 204, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, was enacted to increase the use of renewable energy to protect the environment, reduce pollution, make housing more affordable, and enhance Hawaii's local economy.  Act 204 added a new provision, codified as section 196-6.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, that required new homes built after January 1, 2010, to utilize solar water heating systems except in limited circumstances.  This provision is commonly known as the solar water heater mandate.

     The legislature finds that the variance provision currently utilized in the solar water heater mandate is being misused to circumvent the objectives of Act 204, to the detriment of consumers and to the State's progress toward its renewable energy goals.  A gas-tankless demand water heater that provides hot water only as needed is one of the allowable variances to the mandate and is by far the most requested type of variance.  In Hawaii, the gas used for this type of tankless water heater is typically derived from fossil fuels.

     The purpose of this Act is to protect consumers by ensuring that the variance for a demand water heater may only be granted if solar water heating is impracticable and cost-prohibitive, and if no renewable energy technology system can be substituted for use as the primary energy source for heating water.

     SECTION 2.  Section 196-6.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (a) through (c) to read as follows:

     "(a)  On or after January 1, 2010, no building permit shall be issued for a new single-family dwelling that does not include a solar water heater system that meets the standards established pursuant to section 269-44, unless the coordinator approves a variance.  A variance application shall only be accepted if [submitted] signed by an architect or mechanical engineer licensed under chapter 464, who attests and demonstrates that:

     (1)  Installation is impracticable due to poor solar resource;

     (2)  Installation is cost-prohibitive based upon a life cycle cost-benefit analysis that incorporates the average residential utility bill and the cost of the new solar water heater system with a life cycle that does not exceed fifteen years;

     (3)  A renewable energy technology system, as defined in section 235-12.5, is substituted for use as the primary energy source for heating water; or

     (4)  A demand water heater device [approved by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.,] is installed; provided that at least one other gas appliance is installed in the dwelling[.] and the life cycle cost for the device is less than a solar water heater system based on the analysis in paragraph (2).  For the purposes of this paragraph, "demand water heater" means a gas-tankless instantaneous water heater that provides hot water only as it is needed.

     (b)  A request for a variance shall be submitted to the coordinator on an application prescribed by the coordinator and shall include a description of the location of the property and justification for the approval of a variance using the criteria established in subsection (a).  The coordinator may exercise discretion in denying any variance application deemed to be incomplete or insufficient pursuant to the requirements in subsection (a).  A variance shall be deemed approved if not denied within [thirty] sixty working days after receipt of the variance application.  The coordinator shall publicize:

     (1)  All applications for a variance within seven days after receipt of the variance application; and

     (2)  The disposition of all applications for a variance within seven days of the determination of the variance application.

     (c)  The director of business, economic development, and tourism may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 to impose and collect fees to cover the costs of administering variances under this section[.], and to impose fines or penalties for false attestations in variance applications.  The fees, fines, or penalties if any, shall be deposited into the energy security special fund established under section 201-12.8."

     SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2100.



Report Title:

Solar Water Heaters; DBEDT; Energy Conservation



Amends the criteria for granting a solar water heater system variance.  Authorizes the Director of DBEDT to impose penalties and fines for false statements on variance applications.  (HB557 HD1)




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