Hawaii has become the first state to require solar water heaters in new homes. The bill was signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican. It requires the energy-saving systems in homes starting in 2010. It prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Hawaii relies on imported fossil fuels more than any other state, with about 90 percent of its energy sources coming from foreign countries, according to state data.
The new law prohibits issuing building permits for single-family homes that do not have solar water heaters. Some exceptions will be allowed, such as forested areas where there are low amounts of sunshine.
State Sen. Gary Hooser, vice chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee, first introduced the measure five years ago when he said a barrel of oil cost just $40. Since then, the cost of oil has more than tripled.
“It’s abundantly clear that we need to take some serious action to protect Hawaii because we’re so dependent on oil,” Hooser said. “I’m very pleased the governor is recognizing the importance of this bill and the huge public benefits that come out of it.