Hawaii Announces New Solar Financing Program

| NEWS: Kat Friedrich (Clean Energy Finance Center)

Hawaii’s state legislature recently passed Senate Bill 1087 (SB 1087), innovative legislation which authorizes a novel combination of bonds and on-bill repayment to finance clean energy infrastructure – including distributed generation solar photovoltaic systems.

If Hawaii’s governor, Neil Abercrombie, signs the bill, the legislation will take effect next year. Initially, the state plans to make $100 million in bonds available to investors.

SB 1087 will reduce the cost of clean energy projects in Hawaii by creating a loan fund. Low-interest bonds financed by utility tariffs will support this fund. Private investors will purchase the bonds.

The bill will also make it easier for all Hawaii residents to finance solar photovoltaics at their residences or businesses by providing them access to low-cost loans from the loan fund. They will then repay these loans via their utility bills.

Previously, people with access to sufficient upfront capital were the only ones installing solar photovoltaics and taking advantage of the available tax credits in Hawaii. With this program, lower-income residents and people who can’t obtain bank loans will now have access to low-cost financing for solar photovoltaics. Additionally, renters of homes will be able to install solar photovoltaic panels with the approval of their landlords because the payments will be attached to the meters.

The Coalition for Green Capital has been working with the Hawaii state legislature for several years to promote low-cost financing mechanisms for clean energy. The state’s goal is to use 70 percent clean energy by 2030. This is one of the highest goals in the country.

Source: Coalition for Green Capital press release

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