Your interesting and provocative article on sun power could use some amplification (“Free the Sun,” July 7, 2005). You underrate the success of solar water heating in Hawai’i. Statewide there are approximately 77,000 solar roofs, almost one in five homes–one in four counting just single-family homes.
About 25,000 of these units at last count came since 1996 under a program in which electric utilities pay a $750 instant rebate to customers who install solar water heating. In all, over $18 million in rebates have been dispersed. A tax credit is available worth 35 percent of the cost of the solar system. Most people recover installation costs in about four years.
In total, customers who install solar in Hawai’i will save over $100 million over the lives of their systems. Perhaps more importantly to many, over 1.6 million barrels of oil will be saved.
Hawai’i’s embrace of solar water heating should be a point of pride for our people and utilities, which promote solar water heating very actively. Imagine if we could raise penetration of solar water heating to two in five homes, or three. Wow. That would be wonderful.
Finally, on net-energy-metering, we will soon announce Public Utilities Commission approval of new rules–based on changes in the law approved by the Legislature and supported in their final version by HECO, MECO and HELCO–that should make renewable energy more attractive to home- and small-business owners.
The size of solar, wind, hydro and biomass renewable systems which may return excess electricity to the grid and receive credit at retail prices has been raised to 50 kilowatts. Shortly we will also be seeking approval for new rules to allow NEM users to reconcile the exchange with their utilities annually rather than monthly, again increasing the value of small-to-medium sized renewable energy systems to our customers.
-Peter Rosegg, Senior Communications Consultant, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY?
Recently, I was sent a copy of your review of the documentary about my husband, Stanley K. Sheinbaum, Citizen Stan (“Citizen Stan,” June 16, 2005). While I commend you for writing such an extensive piece, I must admonish you for your lack of accuracy, particularly in regard to my father, who was Harry Warner and most definitely NOT my uncle, Jack Warner. With such a glaring error, it might make a reader question the veracity of the other information set forth in your review.
I would appreciate a correction being printed at your earliest convenience. My late father, Harry Warner, was a pioneer filmmaker and President of Warner Brothers. I am proud to be his daughter.
-Betty Warner Sheinbaum, via email