As state lawmakers search for savings in the budget, Hawaii’s photovoltaic companies and solar operators are hoping tax credits for some renewable energy projects are left untouched.
“Keeping certainty on tax credits and state policy around credits is really essential,” David Bissell, CEO of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative, said during a legislative energy briefing Friday.
Those tax credits can help spur development of solar projects both big and small. That was the goal when the Legislature took up the issue in the early 2000s. But the credits also have the potential to eat a chunk of the state’s budget.
With the state facing a historic budget deficit, lawmakers may consider phasing out the tax credits.
Rep. Nicole Lowen, who chairs the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, supports keeping the credit but said she is unsure what support there is in the Legislature for not winding down the incentive.
She said while it’s been useful for early adopters, she would still like to see more families benefit from the credit by installing rooftop solar panels. Lowen noted that it is unusual for a tax credit not to have an end date set in the law, and expects the issue to be discussed during this legislative session, which begins Wednesday.
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell