Hawaii Energy Program Trying to Qualify More Residents for Solar

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Energy Office is seeking approval for a program that proposes to make it easier for lower-income homeowners, landlords and nonprofits, among other groups, to install photovoltaic systems.

Mark Glick, Hawaii’s energy administrator within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Energy Office, said in a press release the program was designed to help the state continue to work toward its renewable energy goals. Called Green Energy Market Securitization, the program proposes to take out a bond of up to $150 million. The money from that bond would be used to back low-interest loans through banks or other lending institutions, which would go either to property owners or to solar installation businesses to pay for photovoltaic panels.

“While solar PV has grown exponentially there is a market gap of consumers who cannot afford the high upfront costs, or cannot qualify for loans. The GEMS program will open up access to solar PV for these market segments,” DBEDT Director Richard Lim said in an email earlier this week. “This innovative financing approach leverages public dollars to achieve a long-term, sustainable financing solution to support clean energy project development.”

The bond would be able to fund up to 44 kilowatts of solar power, the application said.