Legislation needed to assure clear access to sun

If anyone has photovoltaic or hot-water panels already installed or is planning installation, they need to think about what would happen if they no longer had clear access to the sun.

Many municipalities across the country already have solar access and solar rights legislation prohibiting building structures or growing vegetation that blocks installed solar panels. Hawaii does not.

In early 2013, I contacted both the Governor’s Office and Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office about such legislation in Hawaii. Arakawa’s office was very helpful, and after review determined that solar access/rights legislation must be enacted on a county-by-county basis but only after the state Legislature gives the counties the go-ahead to do so.

After writing to our House and Senate representatives, state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran introduced companion House Bill (HB2165) for consideration in January 2014. This bill passed the Finance and Energy committees and several House readings and was passed to the Senate at the end of February 2014.

The bill died in the Senate in March of 2014. As written, this bill addressed only blockage by vegetation.

Find information about HB2165 and companion Senate Bill SB2239 at the Hawaii Legislature website.

Many current candidates campaign and claim that they are pro-alternative energy. I urge them to follow up on this legislation if elected. If not, this is just one more empty campaign statement.

Steve Milewski