Hawaii’s clean energy future: New innovative program

The Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) is calling attention to a new program that will allow Hawaii to join other progressive states to offer innovative financing for clean energy adoption.

In response to a joint filing by HGIA and the Hawaiian Electric Companies, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved the establishment and implementation of the Green Energy Money $aver (GEM$) On-Bill Program.

“This new GEM$ Program will expand access and affordability of renewable energy and energy efficiency to a wide range of Hawaii’s ratepayers,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “We are excited that this financing opportunity will help Hawaii ratepayers lower their electricity costs.”

The program allows renters, low-income households, nonprofits and other Hawaiian Electric Companies’ ratepayers on most Rate Schedules, to install solar hot water heaters, solar PV systems, and/or commercial energy efficiency measures, effectively removing significant barriers, while saving the ratepayer(s) at least 10 percent on their utility bill.

Providing an innovative financing option via an on-bill mechanism has been a vision of the Hawaii State Legislature for almost seven years when Act 204 (SLH) 2011 was enacted to investigate an on-bill financing program.

“GEM$ will eliminate two major barriers – conventional credit underwriting and upfront installation costs, while reducing net energy costs,” explained Gwen Yamamoto Lau, executive director of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority. “Additionally, GEM$ is designed to also unlock access to solar for renters. We are gearing up to begin accepting applications next month, and we are thrilled to see this program become a reality.”

“The Hawaiian Electric Companies are happy to partner in a program that offers our customers more choices – especially one that opens doors to installing renewable energy systems,” said Jim Alberts, the companies’ senior vice president of customer service. “The on-bill program will provide cost-saving opportunities to those who have not been able to participate in solar programs.”

“The approval of the GEM$ On-Bill Program will bring more energy efficiency technologies, including solar water heaters, to those who benefit from it most,” said Will Giese, executive director of Hawaii Solar Energy Association, “We continue to support the GEMS program as a series of initiatives to help lower high electric bills, expand access to renewable to a diverse array of customers, and build a cleaner, more sustainable Hawaii.”

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