HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

195

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to Renewable Energy.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Act 97, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015, required electric utilities in the State to achieve a one hundred per cent renewable portfolio standard by December 31, 2045, in order to transition the State away from imported fossil fuels and toward locally available renewable energy sources.

The legislature further finds that to encourage the timely build-out of a diverse, resilient, and reliable portfolio of low-cost renewable energy generation and storage assets, Hawaii must lower the administrative barriers that constrain deployment of residential and commercial-scale distributed energy resources.

The legislature also finds that exemptions from permitting requirements based on estimated costs that have not been amended since 1979 and fail to account for inflation of over three hundred per cent have severely reduced the practical availability of such exemptions and created an unnecessary impediment to the timely installation of residential distributed energy resources and other real property improvements.

The legislature further finds that the permitting process currently adds substantial time and cost to the adoption of residential solar and energy storage projects and that online permitting tools such as the United States Department of Energy's SolarAPP+ have been successfully implemented by hundreds of government entities that issue building permits throughout the nation and that Hawaii's permit-issuing government entities should similarly take advantage of these tools to help meet the State's clean energy, reliability, and resilience needs.

The purpose of this Act is to lower administrative barriers to the deployment of energy generation and storage technology systems by requiring government entities in the State that issue building permits to implement SolarAPP+ or a functionally equivalent online automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits to licensed contractors for solar distributed energy resource systems in real time by January 1, 2024.

SECTION 2. Chapter 196, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"196-A Building permit; issuing entity; adoption of online permitting tools for solar distributed energy resource systems. (a) Any government entity in the State that issues building permits shall implement SolarAPP+ or a functionally equivalent online automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits to licensed contractors for solar distributed energy resource systems in real time; provided that a government entity in the State that issues building permits shall adopt self-certification, pursuant to section

196-B, for solar distributed energy resource systems that are not compatible with SolarAPP+ at the time the application is submitted to that entity.

(b) Any government entity in the State that issues building permits shall meet the requirements of subsection (a) by January 1, 2024.

(c) Any government entity in the State that issues building permits shall notify the Hawaii state energy office when it achieves compliance with subsection (a) and shall continue to provide such notification annually.

(d) As used in this section:

"Solar distributed energy resource system" means an assembly of solar energy-generating or energy-storing materials, or any combined assembly of solar energy-generating and energy-storing materials, and the related infrastructure necessary for its operation.

"SolarAPP+" means the web-based portal and associated software tools developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as updated from time to time.

196-B Adoption of self-certification for solar and energy storage projects. (a) Any government entity in the State that issues building permits shall establish a self-certification process for solar distributed energy resource systems that deems permit applications approved and allows applicants to proceed to build immediately; provided that:

(1) The applicable government entity in the State that issues building permits is notified in writing by the project owner, or an agent of the project owner, that the owner or agent requests issuance of the permit and is prepared to pay any required fees; and

(2) The applicable government entity in the State that issues building permits is notified in writing by the duly licensed electrician or duly licensed plumber, as applicable, who installed or intends to install the solar distributed energy resource system that the installation of the system complies with all applicable codes and laws.

(b) A permit application or self-certification for a solar distributed energy resource system shall not require submission of an approved materials and methods number; provided that the following are provided with the license holder's notification to the applicable government entity in the State that issues building permits:

(1) A manufacturer specification sheet;

(2) An installation and operations manual; and

(3) A UL or other national testing laboratory certification.

(c) If the requirements of subsection (a) are satisfied, the applicable government entity in the State that issues building permits shall issue the building permit number and close the permit within thirty days of submittal.

(d) As used in this section, "solar distributed energy resource system" means an assembly of solar energy-generating or energy-storing materials, or any combined assembly of solar energy-generating and energy-storing materials, and the related infrastructure necessary for its operation."

SECTION 3. Section 464-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:

""Residential distributed energy resource system" means an assembly of energy-generating or energy-storing materials, or any combined assembly of solar energy-generating and energy-storing materials, sited on a residence and the related infrastructure for its operation."

SECTION 4. Section 464-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"464-13 [Structures] Work exempted from provisions of chapter. (a) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to work in respect to any privately owned or privately controlled one-storied building, dwelling, or structure, the estimated cost of which does not exceed [$40,000,] $160,000, nor to any privately controlled two-storied building, dwelling, or structure, the estimated cost of which does not exceed [$35,000.] $140,000. However, no structure, dwelling, or building in which the principal structural members consist of reinforced concrete or structural steel having riveted, bolted, or welded connections shall be exempted from this chapter.

(b) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to work in respect to any privately owned or privately controlled one-storied structure, which is used primarily as a residence, the estimated cost of which does not exceed [$50,000,] $200,000, nor to any privately owned or privately controlled two-storied structure, which is used primarily as a residence, the cost of which does not exceed [$45,000.] $180,000.

(c) The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to work with respect to residential distributed energy resource systems.

[(c)] (d) Whenever the exemption provided for in subsection (b) is applied to the construction of a new building, it shall be noted and recorded with the bureau of conveyances."

SECTION 5. In codifying the new sections added by section [2] of this Act, the revisor of statutes shall substitute appropriate section numbers for the letters used in designating the new sections in this Act.

SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Solar Distributed Energy Resource Systems; Online Building Permitting Tools; Work on Certain Structures; Professional Engineer, Architect, Surveyor, and Landscape Architect Licensure Exemption

 

Description:

Requires government entities in the State that issue building permits to implement SolarAPP+ or a functionally equivalent online automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits to licensed contractors for solar distributed energy resource systems in real time by 1/1/2024. Requires government entities in the State that issue building permits to adopt self-certification for solar distributed energy resource systems that are not SolarAPP+ compatible. Makes the professional engineers, architects, surveyors, and landscape architects licensure law inapplicable to work with respect to residential distributed energy resource systems and increases the estimated cost of work on certain structures below which that licensure law is inapplicable.

 

 

 

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