February 22, 2012
BY REP. CYNTHIA THIELEN
House Bill No. 2417 (HB 2417) will limit the availability of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Technologies Income Tax Credit from one credit per system to one credit per property for both residential and commercial projects. Currently, the tax credit applies to each renewable energy system that a property owner installs. Without this tax credit for each system, many families and businesses will not be able to afford the high up-front costs of photovoltaic.
HB 2417 will impact Hawaii’s overall photovoltaic industry. On February 9, 2012 in the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, the Solar Energy Industries Association submitted testimony stating that the credits pertaining to each system has created hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for Hawaii’s workers, from electricians and panel installers, to sales and marketing professionals, to engineers and accountants. Consequently, if HB 2417 is passed, jobs are likely to be lost and overall photovoltaic industry would be negatively impacted.
Moreover, passing HB 2417 will significantly reduce the incentive to invest in renewable energy, likely damage the renewable energy industries in Hawai‘i, and setback Hawaii’s efforts to achieve 70% clean energy by 2030.
Although Hawaii’s current tax credit has assisted the State in making some substantial movements towards the 70% clean energy goal, HB 2417, if passed, will significantly disrupt these efforts.
For instance, according to the State of Hawaii Energy Resource Coordinator’s 2011 Annual Report by Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, only 30 renewable energy systems with a total of 166 kWs were installed in 2005. Whereas with tax credits as an incentive, Hawai‘i had 2,188 renewable energy systems installed statewide with a total capacity of 12.3 MWs in 2010. Moreover, Hawai‘i ranked second in the nation in cumulative installed photovoltaic capacity per capita in 2010.
Hawaii is finally moving away from its dependency on costly imported oil. If HB 2417 becomes law, it would be more difficult for Hawaii’s families and small businesses to afford renewable energy technologies. HB 2417 will keep Hawaii mired in oil, which is an unstable and unsustainable energy resource, and our State is likely to lose lots of money and green jobs.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen is a Republican who represents the 50th District including Kailua, Kaneohe Bay