Given the current price of oil, and the fact that over 90% of its energy is imported from outside the island chain, it's not surprising that Hawaii would want to take action to diversify its energy supply and reduce demand. To that end, with the signature of Governor Linda Lingle on Friday, Hawaii has become the first state in the US to mandate the installation of solar water heaters in new residential construction.
The legislation, Act 204, mandates that new single-family homes built after January 1, 2010 will have to install solar waters to receive a building permit. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis in forested areas, where a life cycle analysis indicates that the system would be cost-prohibitive, or if the dwelling has another form of renewable energy included in the building plan.
Regarding Act 204, Gov. Lingle said, "In addition to solar, it is critical that we continue to develop innovative energy solutions that capitalize on our natural resource advantages in order to achieve our goal of having 70% clean energy in Hawaii by 2030."