HONOKAA, Hawaii: The State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism and the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation have announced the launch of GreenSun Hawaii, and the Honokaa People’s Theater is one of the first to take advantage of the innovative energy financing.
The program made available through a Recovery Act grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. In partnership with approved Hawaii-based solar contractors, the program enables customers to apply for financing for solar water heating and other energy-efficient equipment with up to three participating lenders of their choice through an easy-to-use online application. The improvements will reduce overall energy consumption and ultimately, yield significant cost savings to property owners. GreenSun Hawaii loans will feature longer terms and lower interest rates than loans offered outside of the program. The goal is to provide financing options that will result in lower monthly payments in comparison to the customers’ current utility bills.
Dr. Tawn Keeney, owner of the Honoka‘a People’s Theater, is quoted in the state news release, saying the GreenSun Hawaii program has helped to make the theater more sustainable…. reducing their operating expenses while having tangible positive environmental impacts in the community.
From the DBEDT media release:
“GreenSun is a great example on how we are leveraging federal funds to put money in local people’s pockets,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “This $2.69 million investment can grow to millions in loans that will lower the state’s consumption of imported oil and free up consumer dollars through energy savings. It helps our people, it protects our aina, and it contributes to our local economy.”
GreenSun Hawaii is intended to stimulate affordable private lending for energy efficiency and renewable energy installations by covering part of a lender’s risk. It is anticipated that a number of financial institutions will participate in the program and extend financing with competitive terms and rates to a larger pool of customers. Structured as a long-term public-private partnership, the GreenSun Hawaii program is capable of leveraging $2.691 million in federal funds into $98.5 million in clean energy loans over the next 15 years.
“It’s a major step in fulfilling the Governor’s New Day plan to further energy independence,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. “The GreenSun Hawaii loans program will increase the ability of participants to qualify and afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements, which will pay for themselves through energy savings for many years to come.
Capitalized with $2.691 million in federal funds, GreenSun Hawaii provides partner financial institutions access to a loan loss reserve which may cover between 10 to 100 percent of defaults on eligible energy efficiency and renewal energy system financing. For every loan that is approved under the GreenSun Hawaii program, HCRC will deposit between four to fourteen percent into a reserve account to be made available to the lender in the event of a default. As loans are repaid, the funds will be reinvested into new clean energy loans.
“Because of state and federal tax rebates, Hawaii has the most solar water heaters and is second in solar electric installations in the country. Now, we can make these and other energy-saving technologies available to more people, especially those who have not been able to afford upfront costs,” said Mark Glick, Administrator of DBEDT’s State Energy Office. “The rebates are available only after spending the money on the equipment, but GreenSun financing take it a step further by allowing more residents and businesses to buy the equipment, save on their electric bills, and help us get to our goal of 70% clean energy by 2030.”
“GreenSun Hawaii aims to afford everyone (residential and non-residential property owners) in Hawaii the opportunity to take advantage of the abundant solar power that exists throughout our islands,” said Gwen Yamamoto Lau, president of HCRC. “With $4 billion annually flowing out of Hawaii to meet our energy needs, it’s important that we find innovative ways to increase our energy efficiency while saving money, both individually and collectively.”
Lenders and contractors who want to participate in the GreenSun Hawaii program are encouraged to contact HCRC. Currently, participating lenders and authorized contractors include:
Hawaii National Bank
Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union
IEG Federal Credit Union
Kauai Community Federal Credit Union
Maui County Federal Credit Union
NAVFAC Federal Credit Union
The Queen’s Federal Credit Union
Wailuku Federal Credit Union
C & J Solar Solutions, LLC
Kumukit / Hawaii Energy Connection
Maui Pacific Solar, Inc.
PhotonWorks Engineering, LLP
Renewable Energy Services, Inc.
For more information about GreenSun Hawaii, including loan application and solar contractor and financial institution listings, please visit: www.greensunhawaii.com.