Hawai’i is highly dependent on imported oil for its electricity needs — I’ve heard Jeff Mikaluna, Director of the Hawai’i chapter of the Sierra Club, quip that the state is one supertanker accident away from becoming Amish.

Which makes this press release great news:

Every new home to have solar
Landmark Solar Roofs law — the first of its type in the nation — escapes veto list

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Honolulu — Hawai’i will become the first state in the nation to make solar water heaters compulsory in almost all new homes. The measure, SB 644, was not listed among the 52 bills considered for veto by Gov. Linda Lingle, meaning the bill will become law with or without her signature.

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This is the type of transformative policy that will define Hawaii’s clean energy future, said Jeff Mikulina, Director of the Sierra Club, Hawai’i Chapter. The Solar Roofs law brings the benefit of free sunshine to new homeowners across our islands. We are the Saudi Arabia of sun. Every house in the state should be tapping into this free resource.

Hawai’i can be proud to lead the nation with this policy, added Mikulina.

At a time when the globe hungers for smart energy solutions, Hawai’i is demonstrating how it can be done.

We thank Gov. Lingle for her team for making this landmark law a reality, Mikulina said.

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The Sierra Club also hailed the bill’s advocates, including Sen. Gary Hooser, who introduced the measure, Rep. Hermina Morita, who helped craft the final language of the bill, and Sen. Ron Menor, who helped ensure the passage of Solar Roofs …

The Solar Roofs law will greatly increase the efficiency and affordability of new homes built in Hawai’i. Solar water heaters are among the most effective means of reducing the high electricity cost burden that residents now endure. The Solar Roofs law makes the cost of living more affordable by slashing the electric utility bill of an average new home by 30 to 40 percent-saving over $1000 annually for an average household on Kaua’i. Further, the Solar Roofs law is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 10,000 tons annually from avoided electricity use.

With the highest electricity prices in the nation and world-class solar resources, this bill makes great sense. Congratulations to Sierra Club and all the advocates that made this happen. More details here.