Mandatory Solar Hot Water for New Homes: Don't Believe It

Sara Lin/Civil Beat

UPDATED 11/17/10 12 p.m.

Editor's Note: Read Part 2 of this investigation, which explores how developers are flouting the intent of the solar mandate.

Hawaii was touted a couple of years ago as the first state to mandate solar water heaters for new homes.

In reality, that's not the case.

Passed in 2008, the Solar Roofs Act was hailed by environmentalists like the Sierra Club as a "landmark measure ... that would make the state the first in the nation to require solar water heaters as a standard feature on all new homes."

But in the first 10 months that the law was in effect, the state granted more than 300 variances. What was intended to be a solar mandate has a gaping loophole.

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