Sierra Club Launches Marketing Campaign in Support of Solar: Drawing Attention to the Impact on Hawai‘i Jobs and Clean Energy Goals

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REPORT FROM THE SIERRA CLUB OF HAWAII – The Sierra Club unveiled a media campaign to draw public attention to Governor Abercrombie’s slashing of the tax credits for residents and businesses that install solar energy systems. The Hawaii Department of Taxation’s new interpretation of the solar credit – which was announced November 9, 2012 and went into effect January 1, 2013 – drastically reduces the availability of the Hawai‘i renewable energy tax credit for solar photovoltaic systems.

The new campaign features Sonny the Solar Panel standing in an unemployment line. An audio clip can be found here, and the text of the advertisement is below.

Statement of Sierra Club Hawai‘i Chapter Director Robert D. Harris: 
The Abercrombie Administration is wrongly slamming the brakes on one of the few success stories in achieving Hawai‘i’s clean energy goals. The Department’s new interpretation would slash the average tax credit to homeowners and businesses that install solar energy systems by about half. It also threatens the future of thousands of solar energy workers in one of Hawai‘i’s strongest growth sectors.

The Sierra Club is open to legislative changes to our tax policy — everyone wants a smart, well-crafted law that watches the bottom line while still providing enough of an incentive to encourage residents to transition to clean energy — but believes the Governor’s blatant crossing of the line between the executive and legislative branches is misguided. In a democracy, laws are supposed to be made by the legislature in an open and transparent way. The Governor attempted and failed to pass a law reducing the solar tax credit last year. The Governor does not have the authority to executively change the state’s tax policy in a behind-closed doors manner simply because the legislature did not give him what he wanted.

The impacts of the Governor’s action are still to be felt. We hope to draw public attention to the potential economic impacts by unveiling the Sonny the Solar Panel advertisements and encouraging the Governor to show leadership and vision on how to move Hawaii towards a clean energy future.

Text of Sonny the Solar Panel Ad:
Welcome to the Unemployment office. Name please.
My name is Sonny.  I’m a Solar Panel.
Yes, I can see that. What can I do for you Mr. Sonny the Solar Panel?
SONNY:I had a good career here in Hawaii. [OFFICE SOUNDS FADE – MUSIC UP] I was in high demand thanks to some smart solar energy tax credits.  They made owning clean energy solar panels, like me, much more affordable. But all that’s gonna change now.   Governor Abercrombie went behind the back of the state legislature and single-handedly slashed those tax credits. Less than two percent of our electricity comes from solar.  So Abercrombie’s reckless action is putting a brand new industry and thousands of clean energy jobs at risk, including mine.  I’m here looking for a new future.
Sorry Sonny.  Looks like it’s lights out for you.
Let’s fight back to keep Hawaii’s solar industry strong.  Visit to learn how you can keep the solar panels working in Hawaii.
Paid for by Sierra Club.

ounded in 1968, the Hawai`i Chapter of the Sierra Club is the state’s largest and most active grassroots environmental organization. The Club actively promotes reducing the impacts of global climate change by encouraging the development of clean renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and ensuring our fragile native habitat is protected from





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