Residential Audits Threaten Future of Hawaii Solar Industry


Hawaii’s solar companies could be in for a difficult legislative session as state auditors dig into whether state tax credits are being abused — financial incentives that have propped up the state’s fast-growing photovoltaic industry.

Recently, the state Department of Taxation said that it would be auditing homeowners who stretched single solar systems into multiple installations, allowing them to claim multiple refunds. Solar companies have been blamed for perpetuating the unscrupulous practice.

Concerns have also been raised about companies oversizing customers’ systems for financial gain and not informing them of energy efficiency measures and the importance of installing solar hot water heaters, which can greatly reduce the overall cost of photovoltaic systems.

Rep. Pono Chong, who proposed legislation last year that would cap state expenditures on renewable energy credits, said that the credits would likely be under review this session as part of the state's budget priorities.

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