Solar power HawaiiOver the course of the Hawaii legislative session, Sierra Club members have helped champion a bill that takes important first steps towards loosening up HECO’s ban on rooftop solar energy in Hawai‘i. Now, at the last minute, some Senators are proposing a major change that would set a disastrous precedent.

Please email the Senate today (by using this email address: sens@capitol.hawaii.gov/) and ask them to pass HB 1943 in the form that all parties — like HECO, the PUC, and the solar industry — have agreed to, rather then making changes intended to kill this bill.

What’s the issue? The agreed-upon draft asks the Public Utilities Commission to factor in the societal benefits of rooftop solar. Almost everyone would agree, for example, that a kilowatt of solar is better then a kilowatt of power coming from a coal plant. It’s cleaner, it creates more jobs, it provides certainty against increases in fossil fuel price, etc. Perhaps in an attempt to kill this bill, however, there is a proposal to remove the reference to societal benefits, calling them “unquantifiable.” This would ignore the benefits of solar and put solar in an unfair playing field in comparison to much dirtier forms of energy.

Ninety-six percent of people in Hawai‘i believe we need more rooftop solar. It’s time our politicians hear and understand the clear demand to move away from imported oil.

Please write to the Hawaii Senate today and let them know you are counting on them to protect Hawaii’s clean energy future by recognizing the real and tangible benefits society enjoys from investing in solar and other clean energy sources.

Caitlin Pomerantz is the Conservation Program Coordinator for the Sierra Club of Hawai’i

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