H.B. NO.














relating to rooftop solar installation.





SECTION 1. The legislature finds that taking advantage of available rooftop space for rooftop solar photovoltaics will be an important part of meeting Hawaii's one hundred per cent renewable energy target, as the State is unlikely to meet its renewable energy target with utility-scale resources alone. A limited supply of land, as well as competing uses for this land, such as agriculture, affordable housing, and conservation needs, means that utility-scale projects, such as utility solar and wind, are unable to provide all of the electricity necessary to meet Hawaii's renewable energy mandates. Furthermore, avoiding the cost of utility scale resources, such as new transmission, and more expensive technologies, like offshore wind, could save Hawaii residents billions of dollars in present value.

The legislature further finds that adding a rooftop solar energy generation system requirement for new, single-family homes will help Hawaii achieve its renewable energy goals, while lowering Hawaii's dependence on nonrenewable energy sources and leading to a more sustainable future.

The legislature additionally finds that adding a solar energy generation system during the construction phase significantly reduces the system installation cost for homeowners versus adding solar photovoltaics post-construction. Solar installation during construction also allows home buyers to finance systems at traditional, low mortgage rates.

The legislature also finds that California adopted a similar requirement for solar on new homes after extensive studies showed it resulted in a net savings for all new homeowners. The California Energy Commission also found that solar photovoltaic systems would benefit homeowners in all climate zones in California and provided homeowners an average cost savings of approximately $420 each year due to reduced energy bills, even after accounting for potential incremental increases to mortgage costs.

Because Hawaii's climate is even more favorable for solar energy and electric rates are higher in the State, solar photovoltaic systems can be expected to yield substantial savings for Hawaii homeowners. In addition, many home developers in California found opportunities to have solar systems installed for free or to be paid for by the solar developers, which lowered the cost of new home development. Similar opportunities may become available to home developers in Hawaii.

The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the issuance of building permits beginning on January 1, 2022, for new single-family dwellings that are part of a development of twenty or more dwellings and do not include a rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system, unless an exemption or variance is granted.

SECTION 2. Chapter 196, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"196-   Rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system installation required for new single-family residential construction. (a) On or after January 1, 2022, no building permit shall be issued for a new single-family dwelling that is part of a development of twenty or more dwellings and does not include a rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system, unless the chief energy officer of the Hawaii state energy office approves a variance. A variance application shall only be accepted if submitted by an architect or electrical engineer licensed under chapter 464, who attests that:

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

(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 rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system, including any specific interconnection costs, with a life cycle of twenty-five years.

(b) A request for a variance shall be submitted to the Hawaii state energy office on an application prescribed by the chief energy officer 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). A variance shall be deemed approved if not denied within sixty working days after receipt of the variance application. The chief energy officer shall publicize:

(1) All applications for a variance, including cost estimates, within seven calendar days after receipt of the variance application; and

(2) The disposition of all applications for a variance within seven calendar 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. The fees, if any, shall be deposited into the energy security special fund established under section 201-12.8.

(d) Nothing in this section shall preclude any county from establishing procedures and standards required to implement this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall preclude participation in any utility demand-side management program or public benefits fee program under part VII of chapter 269.

(f) For the purposes of this section, "rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system" means any identifiable facility, equipment, apparatus, or the like, that utilizes electricity-generating modules mounted on a rooftop, or near the subject property, that converts solar energy to useful electrical energy for heating, cooling, or reducing the use of other types of energy that are dependent upon fossil fuel for the generation of electricity; provided that the system shall have no less than five kilowatts of generating capacity and shall include an energy storage device, such as a battery."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2021.








Report Title:

Rooftop Solar Installation; Rooftop Photovoltaic Energy Generating Systems; New Residential Construction Requirement



Beginning 1/1/2022, prohibits the issuance of building permits for new single-family dwellings that are part of a development of twenty or more dwellings and do not include a rooftop photovoltaic energy generating system, unless a variance is granted.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.