New Innovative Program Creates More Opportunities for Hawaii’s Clean Energy Future

Posted on May 1, 2018 in News

Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2018

HONOLULU—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.”

For more information on GEM$, call (808) 587-3868.

About HGIA (Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority)
HGIA is a state agency, attached to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), which runs the Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Program. HGIA was constituted in 2014 to administer Hawaii’s Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Loan Fund. The GEMS Program is intended to create market driven public-private partnerships that will open access to financing for more Hawaii customers and democratize access to clean energy.

About DBEDT (Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

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Media Contacts:
Gwen Yamamoto Lau
Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority
Office: (808) 587-2690

Christine Hirasa
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
Phone: (808) 587-9006
Mobile: (808) 286-9017