Solar Water Heater Variance

Act 155 2009 (HB1464, CD1) Part VII, Solar Water Heater System, Section 13:  It is the intent of this legislature that the variances provided for in Act 204, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, (Act 204) will be rarely, if ever, exercised or granted because the burden of proof will lie with the applicant to demonstrate that a solar water heater system, regardless of location or circumstance, is not cost effective in the context of a 30-year mortgage term.  Therefore, the legislature intended for a consumer to have the option to use gas appliances with the full knowledge that such a system may be more costly and less efficient.  To obviate any attempt to circumvent Act 204, the legislature intends that if the potential variance applicant is not the party who will ultimately pay for the energy cost consumption, then only paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection 196-6.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, should apply.

Information and forms to apply for exemption from solar water heater mandate

As of January 1, 2010, all NEW single-family dwellings built in the State of Hawaii are required to have a solar water heater (Act 204, June 26, 2008, now HRS 196-6.5).  A request for a variance (exemption) from this state law can be submitted to DBEDT by a licensed architect or mechanical engineer.  Click on the link below for a Request for Variance form and, if needed, the accompanying life cycle cost comparison worksheet.  Completed, stamped and signed requests and LCC comparison worksheets should be e-mailed to Dean Masai at (please put “SWH Variance” in subject box).

Click on the links below for answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding variances to the State of Hawaii’s mandatory solar water heater law. To read the PDFs, you will need appropriate software such as Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader.

Fill out this form to request an exemption from Hawaii’s solar water heater mandate law.  Depending on the reason for your variance request, you may also need to complete the “Water Heating Life Cycle Cost Comparison” spreadsheet, below.

The Excel spreadsheet used to calculate life cycle costs for solar and other methods of water heating contains formulae and explanatory comments which can’t be read unless you use the Excel software.  This explanation lists the calculations and comments for people completing the spreadsheet form manually.

A chart summarizing requests for a variance from the solar water heater mandate received by DBEDT will be updated here regularly, as requests are received and as variances are approved or denied.

UL-certified instantaneous gas water heater manufacturers list is available at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.  On the UL Online Certification Directory:

  1. Type LUVK into the “UL Category Code” box
  2. Click on the “Search” button

The next UL “Online Certifications Directory” page lists companies that make UL-certified instantaneous gas water heaters (8 companies are listed).  The names are linked to lists of the UL-certified gas tankless water heaters.  Please note some water heaters are “commercial.”