Source: Pacific Business News
A new program that is designed to make the installation of rooftop solar energy systems more affordable and accessible to underserved residents in Hawaii, including low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and nonprofits, has kicked off with $50 million in funds being made available for the initiative, bringing the total amount of program funding to $150 million.
House and Senate lawmakers said Monday that they have agreed to start funding the statewide green infrastructure financing program called Green Energy Market Securitization or GEMS, which was established through Act 211 last June, with the $50 million from the Green Infrastructure Special Fund.
The state also plans to go after another $100 million in bond financing to help fund the program.
The program addresses the financial challenges many Hawaii residents face when attempting to purchase and install energy-saving devices, and aims to work with existing clean energy companies to expand the market of eligible consumers who will be able to simply invest in solar today, with no upfront cost, and repay over time.
Payment would be made over time through a resident’s electricity bill and paid for with the energy savings. The state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism will oversee the GEMS financing program through the state Energy Office.
The provision is a line item within the state’s executive budget bill, House Bill 1700, and would go into effect after the measure is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.
GEMS still needs approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.