HECO implements changes to help more customers add solar photovoltaic systems

September 21, 2013

Hawaiian Electric recommends that all customers considering adding a rooftop solar photovoltaic system check the status of their circuit before signing an agreement or installing PV.

Expanded Locational Value Maps (LVMs) are now available on their website. You can enter an address to see the available capacity on the circuit for your proposed project. Please use the LVM tool as your first, preliminary check on the circuit for your proposed project.


NEWS RELEASE: Department of Planning and Permitting City & County of Honolulu

June 14, 2013


The Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) will begin collecting plan review fees on certain building permit applications beginning Monday, June 17, in an effort to reduce the number of permits that are submitted for approval, but not picked up or paid for.

On Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed Bill 15, which amends the City’s permit fee schedule and allows DPP to charge a plan review fee of 20 percent of the total building permit fee at the time the permit application is submitted.  The plan review fee is in addition to the building permit fee and covers building, electrical and plumbing building permits.  The new law exempts applications for fences, retaining walls, driveways, and swimming pools.

The City sought the new fee to cut down on the number of permit applications that are submitted and reviewed by DPP staff, approved, but not picked up by the applicant.  Since 1999, DPP has processed 2,591 commercial and residential permits that were never picked up by the applicant and therefore account for more than $2.6 million in unpaid fees.  The City wants to stop this waste of time and effort by the DPP staff.  This is the first building permit fee increase in 10 years.

In addition to the plan review fee, the ordinance raises fees for select zoning permits.  For more information on the new fee schedule, visit the DPP website, www.honoluludpp.org.

State unveils new rules for solar tax credits

November 9, 2012

By Alan Yonan Jr.

The state Department of  Taxation unveiled new rules today that will effectively limit the ability of homeowners to claim multiple tax credits for the installation of solar photovoltaic systems.
The “temporary administrative rules” require photovoltaic systems on single-family homes to have a rated output capacity of at least 5 kilowatts in order to qualify for a state tax credit. The new rules were published today on the Department of Taxation’s website and will apply to PV systems put in place starting Jan. 1.
Current law allows homeowners to claim an income tax credit of 35 percent for PV systems with a cap of $5,000 per system. However, because the way solar technology has evolved and tax guidance has been interpreted, many homeowners have installed multiple PV systems on their properties, claiming a state credit for each system.
The rule changes are an attempt to bring clarity as to what constitutes a photovoltaic “system.” The Tax Department in 2010 issued guidance on the matter to taxpayers in response to concerns that the credit was being abused. Solar industry executives maintain that whatever confusion existed in the past has mostly been resolved, and that some homeowners need multiple systems for valid engineering reasons or physical site limitations.
The new rules also set capacity thresholds for multi-family residential properties and commercial properties. For multi-family properties each system for which a credit is claimed must have an output capacity of at least 360 watts per unit per system. Commercial systems must have an output capacity of at least 1,000 kilowatts for each credit claimed.
The PV credits are part of the state’s broader renewable energy tax credit program conceived as an incentive to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on fossil fuel. The credits started coming under scrutiny in recent years as the popularity of PV systems resulted in the loss of more tax revenue than expected.
State lawmakers last session considered several bills that would have curtailed the solar tax credit, but they were  unable to reach a compromise before the session ended. Lawmakers will likely revisit the issue again next year.