New Program Makes Clean Energy More Accessible & Affordable
The State of Hawai‘i took another significant step forward in meeting the state’s 100% renewable energy goal. On Monday, April 8, 2019, Gov. David Ige announced an innovative new program designed to make green energy installments such as solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels, more accessible and affordable for homeowners, renters, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The Green Energy Money $aver (GEM$) on-bill program is the result of a collaborative effort among energy leaders from the public and private sectors.
The on-bill repayment program allows electric ratepayers on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i to invest in green energy installments to immediately lower their utility bill and use the estimated savings to cover the costs of installation. Repayments are conveniently paid through monthly electric bills, which means there are no additional loan payments.
“We’re proud to be offering ratepayers an on-bill option to finance solar systems and energy efficiency retrofits,” said Gov. Ige. “This will give everyone the opportunity to do their part to reduce our state’s use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.”
There are only two requirements. Customers of Hawaiian Electric Companies must not have had a disconnection notice over the past 12 months and the estimated utility bill savings must be at least 10% after the installation, including the repayment. Credit scores and income levels are not part of the eligibility requirements.
“By democratizing green energy for more consumers and organizations, the GEM$ on-bill program creates new, sustainable clean energy jobs in our state and generates more tax revenues,” added Gwen Yamamoto-Lau, HGIA executive director. “The program also opens the door to a new rental market segment for contractors.”
The program was approved by the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission in December 2018.
Under the oversight of the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission, the program was developed by the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA), in collaboration with Hawaiian Electric Companies.