HSEA and UH Researches Duke It Out Over Energy Tax Credits

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2013

Feb 15, 2013, 2:33pm HST

Reporter-Pacific Business News
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Let the solar wars begin. The Hawaii Solar Energy Association on Friday denounced the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s recently released report on the controversial solar photovoltaic tax credits.

A hotly contested debate is currently going on at the state Legislature, which should bring some clarity to this issue once the dust settles.

The UHERO report noted that the existing solar PV tax credits could cost the state $1.4 billion in lost revenue based on 1,100-megawatts of installed PV.

The Hawaii Solar Energy Association, a Honolulu-based industry trade group, believes that the UHERO report’s logic is faulty on a number of levels by ignoring the number of jobs being created in this fast-growing sector as well as the increase in state revenues resulting from taxes paid by solar companies and their many employees.

UHERO suggested another way to encourage people to go solar. It’s called “on-bill financing,” a pay-as-you-save mechanism that is currently being looked into by the state.

But the HSEA is not blinking, saying that the tax credits are clearly succeeding and should be continued.

Either way, the facts are the facts. The solar industry has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the state, contributing heavily to the economy in both jobs and tax revenues.

However, UHERO does have a point, and looking at other alternatives is only fair.

Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.

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