DPP, HSEA and Revolusun collaborate on solar task force!

In the heart of the Pacific, where the sun’s glow is as much a part of life as the tides, a quiet revolution has been underway. Spearheaded by the Solar Task Force, this initiative’s aim: to streamline the tangled web of solar permitting in Hawaii, marking a significant stride towards the state’s sustainable future. The force behind this movement? A unique collaboration between government visionaries and industry leaders, led by Deputy Director Jiro Sumada and includes representatives from the Honolulu DPP, HSEA, Hawaiian Electric, the Hawaii State Energy Office, solar contractors including Revolusun, and solar financing and equipment manufacturers.

The inception of this task force was driven by an urgent need to address the protracted delays in the solar permit process, a situation that worsened amidst the global pandemic. Solar permit applications, constituting about 60% of all permits, bogged down the system, creating a bottleneck that hampered progress. Recognizing an opportunity to catalyze change, newly appointed Director Dawn Takeuchi and her team set the wheels in motion, aiming to alleviate the backlog and expedite the transition to renewable energy.

Revolusun’s task force members are David Gorman, and his adept team members, Tiana Fujimoto and Olana Irvine. Together, they meet monthly with Deputy Director Jiro Sumada and a cadre of solar industry professionals to forge a path towards efficiency and sustainability. “It’s about bringing our collective expertise to the table to solve a critical issue—not just for us, but for Hawai’i,” Gorman shared, encapsulating the collaborative spirit of the task force.

The fruits of their labor are already evident. The task force has made significant inroads in optimizing the ePlans process, refining the BOT prescreen to ease permit application bottlenecks, and expanding the pre-approved online permitting system. Notably, it has also streamlined commercial permit approvals and introduced a pilot pre-certification process for townhome solar permits, an initiative that promises to democratize access to solar energy for a broader segment of the population.

This focus on townhome solar permits is particularly transformative. It addresses a long-standing barrier for townhome owners, who have historically faced daunting challenges in navigating the permitting process for solar installations. By simplifying these procedures, the task force is not just enhancing efficiency; it’s opening up new possibilities for renewable energy adoption across the state.

The Solar Task Force’s achievements represent more than just procedural improvements; they signify a collective commitment to a greener, more sustainable Hawaii. Through this unique blend of public and private cooperation, Hawaii is not only addressing the immediate challenges of solar permitting but also laying the foundation for a future where clean energy is accessible to all. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration and a beacon of hope for a sustainable world.Here is a link to the Living808 Segment where Davif Gorman talks about the Solar Task Force.