Despite A Booming Industry, Hawaiian Utility Company Moves to Block Solar Energy
Although industry reports indicate that continued price reductions for all types of solar technology are expected to open new markets and help the solar industry reach $77 billion in revenue and 26.4 GW in capacity by 2015, some U.S. states are still seeing resistance to widespread adoption.
Recently, Hawai’i’s sole investor-owned utility company, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), moved to bar homes and businesses that buy their electricity from installing renewable energy systems like solar panels (EarthJustice).
If the utility is successful in blocking new solar installations, it would continue the state’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for over 96 percent of its energy needs and cause devastating harm to Hawai’i’s growing indigenous solar industry.
“This is a huge step backward for Hawai’i’s clean energy future,” said Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of Blue Planet Foundation, one of several environmental organizations protesting the move. “Now is not the time to put the brakes on the clean energy industry, local jobs, and customer choice.”
To justify the moratorium, HECO has incorrectly claimed that solar panels will go dead every time a cloud or bird passes overhead, and that individual systems on home or business roofs will bring down the entire grid. HECO proposes to form a working group to study its concerns, according to EarthJustice.
Despite resistance from trepidatious fossil fuel power companies, scientists haven’t stopped looking for new ways to create fuel with the power of the sun.
Science Daily recently reported that have developed a potent homogeneous catalyst for water oxidation, considered a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight. “The long-term goal is to use sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen becomes the fuel. Its combustion produces the by-product of water — which flows back into a clean, green, renewable cycle.”
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - Wayne National Forest