Solar in Hawaii: Things Just Keep Getting Better
With an abundant supply of sunshine and a variety of compelling economic incentives, there are already great reasons for Hawaiians to make the switch to solar power. As of mid-2014, there will be even more. That’s when the new state initiative for green funding is projected to take effect.
What Senate Bill 1087 does
Signed by Governor Abercrombie in June, the new law provides owners of residential and commercial property the chance to finance the upfront costs of switching to photovoltaic systems and solar equipment. This innovation, called on-bill financing, leverages the power of private investors to make energy improvements possible for more people.
Here’s how it works: the customer arranges for a certified contractor to install the equipment. Installation costs are covered by a loan from the Green Infrastructure Program, which is funded by private investors. Each month, the customer’s energy savings are used to repay the loan; all this is reflected in the monthly energy bill. The utility company thus collects the loan repayment, which can be used to repay investors or can go back into the program.
What this means for Hawaiians
Until now, a large portion of our state’s population has been unable to take advantage of solar energy incentives. Nearly 40% of Hawaii residents rent ‒ it makes little sense for them to add significant improvements to a home they don’t own. Furthermore, many home owners simply don’t have the income to qualify for traditional financing.
However, the new program will make funding possible for homeowners who might not qualify for a traditional loan. It will also be available for renters, providing them with a much needed incentive. Best of all, the program is designed to be “bill neutral” ‒ in other words, energy savings should match the loan payment every month. This means that the loan will be repaid without adding to the monthly budget. Of course, after the loan is paid off, consumers will enjoy lower bills for the lifetime of their energy efficient systems.
The first phase of the project, which is expected to open in the second quarter of next year, will target renters, low and moderate income homeowners, and non-profits.
**Atlas Construction provides solar services through Atlas Energy Solutions. Get a FREE energy audit and find out how to reduce energy consumption.