Hawaii has become the first state to require solar powered water heaters. Beginning in the year 2010, all new homes are required take this step to reduce Hawaii’s dependance on imported fossil fuels. Right now the state relies completely on imported fossil fuels.
With the new law in force, no building permits will be issued for single-family homes unless they have a solar water heater. Exceptions will be allowed for areas without a lot of sunshine, like forested areas.
Of course, some fear that this will only drive up the already high costs of homes in Hawaii, but I think it is another good step towards energy independence. Who knows, I might feel differently if I were required to do it.