HAWAI’I GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITY RECEIVES $50 MILLION IN 2023-2024 STATE BUDGET
News Release from DBEDT, Aug 31, 2023
HONOLULU – In a major step towards making Hawaiʻi more green, resilient, and affordable, the Hawaiʻi Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) has been appropriated $50 million for Solar PV+Battery financing in the 2023-2024 fiscal year. This funding will enhance HGIA’s capacity to make rooftop solar and energy storage accessible to ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained employed) families statewide, helping them to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions while enhancing grid-wide reliability.
“Both rooftop solar and energy storage are essential to Hawaiʻi’s goal of 100-percent renewable energy generation,” said HGIA director Gwen Yamamoto-Lau. “However, many families are unable to qualify for financing at affordable rates and terms, leaving their rooftops a vital but missing tool in the green energy transition.”
This additional funding coincides with a recent Order from the Public Utilities Commission approving HGIA’s request to remove all credit barriers and further expand access to its inclusive financing program. This now enables all low and moderate-income households, who were previously locked out of solar due to credit or disconnection notice history, to be eligible for below-market, long-term, fixed-rate financing. HGIA is now able to finance batteries with solar systems enabling low and moderate-income families (including renters) to capture solar energy for later use.
“These additional savings will be a game-changer in making Hawaiʻi’s families more economically resilient in the face of rising energy costs,” remarked Mark Glick, Chief Energy Officer of the State of Hawaiʻi. “The addition of storage also provides community-wide benefits to grid reliability by allowing for grid stabilization during high-demand times and power outages, a key tactic in adapting to increasingly severe weather exacerbated by climate change.”
This program will support HGIA efforts to reach additional households and expand its existing rooftop solar program. In addition to nonprofits and small businesses, HGIA’s financing programs have already helped more than 1,900 homeowners and renters reduce their energy costs by an average of $100 a month while avoiding more than 287,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released. HGIA is committed to leveraging its funding by collaborating with state, federal, and private sources, and continues to participate in programs led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and Environmental Protection Agency to promote equity.
Yamamoto-Lau added this additional funding will provide dual environmental and financial benefits, “by helping underserved populations, including rural communities and underbanked households, we can reduce the energy burden for our most vulnerable ratepayers and move towards a greener Hawaiʻi.”