Last week I reported on a story that saw a new bill passed in Hawaii making it mandatory for every new home to have their hot water powered by solar panels. Signed in to law by Governor Linda Lingle, the bill will require all single-family homes built starting 2010 to have a solar panel powering the hot water system.
However Hawaii isn’t the trend setters we may have first thought them to be.
Over at MetaEfficient.com, they have an article pointing to the fact that 90% of Israeli homes already have solar water heaters. It began in the early 1950’s when the Israeli government encountered a fuel supply shortage, and restricted the times when water could be heated. In response, the people decided that they would start heating their own water using solar panels.
By 1983, 60% of the populated were using solar panels, and a law was eventually passed making what was already a common practice a law, regulating that all new houses be installed with a solar water heater.
Following in Israel’s step though, is Spain, who towards the end of 2004 saw their Industry Minister Jose Montilla, announce that starting the following year anyone who intended to build a new home would have to include solar panels in their plans.
Already Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer of solar power technology, exporting 80% of this to Germany. A country with more sunshine available than any other European country (try and work out how they figured that one), the Spanish government is committed to ensuring 12% of their primary energy is from renewable energy sources like solar by 2010.
For those wanting to see this in action, but don’t have the money to travel to Spain or Israel or even Hawaii, there are some simple tools to use from your own computer. A jump on to Google Earth will reveal a multitude of blurry out of focus shining squares on the tops of Jerusalem’s houses. And a visit to Flickr and searching for Jerusalem or Spain plus solar power, will reveal a veritable mass of photos showing solar panels atop houses.
In this way, from the smaller states and countries, let’s hope that in time, larger countries will follow.