Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Aug. 14, 2017

Hawai`i Solar Energy Association objects to proposed tariffs on Chinese imported solar panels,
saying that 1,200 jobs of those installing them in Hawai`i would be threatened.
Photo from Hawai`i Solar Energy Association.
HAWAI`I SOLAR ENERGY ASSOCIATION sent a letter to Congress recently saying new tariffs on Chinese solar panels, if approved, could drive up prices and threaten 1,200 jobs in Hawai`i. It would also halt growth of the American solar industry, "dead in its tracks," says the letter addressed to U.S. House of Representatives member Colleen Hanabusa. It contends that  tariffs would threaten "thousands of American workers."
      The tariffs are being considered on Tuesday by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
      The letter, written by Hawai`i Solar Energy Asociation President Rick Reed, asks Hanabusa to object to a petition filed in May by a Chinese-owned U.S. solar cell manufacturer called Suniva, Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in April for its U.S. operations. To protect its U.S. operation, Suniva asks the U.S. government to levy tariffs on imported solar cells and to require minimum prices on imported solar panels. Another American based, foreign owned, bankrupt company also asked for the protection through tariffs. No U.S. owned solar manufacturer is asking for the tariffs, reports Reed.
      The majority of the jobs in solar are in the installation, rather than manufacturing of solar panels - with China already producing 80 percent of panels used worldwide. Opponents of the tariffs claim that keeping out the less expensive panels will reduce the number of jobs across the U.S. by two thirds. At the same time Congress has
passed a law reducing tax benefits for installing solar.
     Inside Climate News quotes Dan Reicher, executive director of Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. "We could see a double 
whammy of higher prices and declining subsidies, which could have a pretty serious effect on U.S. solar deployment."
      A story by H.J. Mai in Pacific Business News on Monday stated that 69 members of the U.S. Congress sent letters to the International Trade Commission opposing the tariffs. It also reported: "Small-scale solar generation, which includes residential rooftop photovoltaic systems, almost doubled between 2014 and 2016, based on data from the Energy Information Administration. In Hawai`i, residential PV systems account for more than a third of renewable energy generation. A downturn, especially in the small-scale solar market, could therefore have a negative impact Hawai`i’s goal of achieving a
100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045."
     The current number of people employed statewide in the solar industry is about 3,195, reports Pacific Business News. Also see Hawai`i Solar Energy Association.
TODAY, MONDAY, IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT and one in six people in Hawai`i depend on Social Security,  U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa reminded the public in a statement.
Hanabusa urges protection of the Social Security Act.
Image from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
     She said that Social Security has "become the very foundation for retirement and provides a crucial lifeline for many seniors and vulnerable Americans." However, "for many of the recipients, they end up needing additional assistance because their benefits do not allow for them to continue taking care of daily expenses and retire comfortably."
     Hanabusa said she is concerned about a move to privatize Social Security, raise the retirement age and cut benefits earned through years of work. "The peole of Hawai1i have worked hard to pay into Social Security and they deserve to retire knowing the benefits they have earned will be there."

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Pick up the August edition of The Ka`u Calendar delivered
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka`u, from Miloli`i 
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online at www.kaucalendar.com
Statehood Flag Craft, Wed, Aug 16, 3:30 – 5 p.m., Pāhala Community Center. Grades K – 8 register Aug 7 – 15. 928-0312

Hawai‘i International Music Festival, Wed, Aug 16, 7 p.m., Pāhala Plantation House. Metropolitan Opera Soprano Amy Shoremount Obra, daughter-in-law of Lorie Obra, of Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee, raises awareness of efforts to restore buildings to host a living heritage and education center and to curate and honor the history of Pāhala. Also performing will be violinist

Kainani Kahaunaele Performs, Wed, Aug 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Enjoy the mele of Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning Kainani Kahaunaele, who shares songs from her albums. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Family Reading Night
, Thu, Aug 17, 5 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka‘ū, Thu, Aug 17, 5:30 p.m. 929-9731 or 936-7262

OVCA Board Meeting, Thu, Aug 17, 6 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

Volcano Rain Forest Runs Packet Pick-up& Late Registration, Fri, Aug 18, 1 – 5 p.m., Cooper Center in Volcano.

Eighth Annual Volcano Rain Forest Runs, Sat, Aug 19, 7 a.m., Cooper Center in Volcano. Staggered starts for Half Marathon, 10K & 5K. Zero-mile event, keiki runs, entertainment, food & crafts follow. Register at volcanorainforestruns.com.

Tango and classical music are among the offerings at the Hawai`i International 
Music Festival concert at Pahala Plantation House on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.

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