DBEDT LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE GREENSUN HAWAII PROGRAM FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY FINANCING

Posted on Oct 26, 2011 in News Releases

For Immediate Release: October 26, 2011

HONOLULU –The State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) and Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC) today announced the launch of GreenSun Hawaii, an innovative energy financing credit enhancement program made available through a Recovery Act grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In partnership with approved Hawaii-based solar contractors, the program enables customers to apply for financing for solar water heating and other energy-efficient equipment with up to three participating lenders of their choice through an easy-to-use online application. The improvements will reduce overall energy consumption and ultimately, yield significant cost savings to property owners. GreenSun Hawaii loans will feature longer terms and lower interest rates than loans offered outside of the program. The goal is to provide financing options that will result in lower monthly payments in comparison to the customers’ current utility bills.

“GreenSun is a great example on how we are leveraging federal funds to put money in local people’s pockets,” said Governor Neil Abercrombie. “This $2.69 million investment can grow to millions in loans that will lower the state’s consumption of imported oil and free up consumer dollars through energy savings. It helps our people, it protects our aina, and it contributes to our local economy.”

GreenSun Hawaii is intended to stimulate affordable private lending for energy efficiency and renewable energy installations by covering part of a lender’s risk. It is anticipated that a number of financial institutions will participate in the program and extend financing with competitive terms and rates to a larger pool of customers. Structured as a long-term public-private partnership, the GreenSun Hawaii program is capable of leveraging $2.691 million in federal funds into $98.5 million in clean energy loans over the next 15 years.

“It’s a major step in fulfilling the Governor’s New Day plan to further energy independence,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. “The GreenSun Hawaii loans program will increase the ability of participants to qualify and afford the upfront costs of energy efficiency improvements, which will pay for themselves through energy savings for many years to come.

Capitalized with $2.691 million in federal funds, GreenSun Hawaii provides partner financial institutions access to a loan loss reserve which may cover between 10 to 100 percent of defaults on eligible energy efficiency and renewal energy system financing. For every loan that is approved under the GreenSun Hawaii program, HCRC will deposit between four to fourteen percent into a reserve account to be made available to the lender in the event of a default. As loans are repaid, the funds will be reinvested into new clean energy loans.

“Because of state and federal tax rebates, Hawaii has the most solar water heaters and is second in solar electric installations in the country. Now, we can make these and other energy- saving technologies available to more people, especially those who have not been able to afford upfront costs,” said Mark Glick, Administrator of DBEDT’s State Energy Office. “The rebates are available only after spending the money on the equipment, but GreenSun financing take it a step further by allowing more residents and businesses to buy the equipment, save on their electric bills, and help us get to our goal of 70% clean energy by 2030.”

“GreenSun Hawaii aims to afford everyone (residential and non-residential property owners) in Hawaii the opportunity to take advantage of the abundant solar power that exists throughout our islands,” said Gwen Yamamoto Lau, president of HCRC. “With $4 billion annually flowing out of Hawaii to meet our energy needs, it’s important that we find innovative ways to increase our energy efficiency while saving money, both individually and collectively.”

Lenders and contractors who want to participate in the GreenSun Hawaii program are encouraged to contact HCRC. Currently, participating lenders and authorized contractors include:
Lenders:
o Hawaii National Bank
o Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union
o Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union
o IEG Federal Credit Union
o Kauai Community Federal Credit Union
o Maui County Federal Credit Union
o NAVFAC Federal Credit Union
o The Queen’s Federal Credit Union
o Wailuku Federal Credit Union

Contractors
o C & J Solar Solutions, LLC
o EnergyPro Hawaii
o Kumukit / Hawaii Energy Connection
o Maui Pacific Solar, Inc.
o PhotonWorks Engineering, LLP
o Renewable Energy Services, Inc.
o RevoluSun
o Sunetric

Dr. Tawn Keeney, owner of the Honokaa People’s Theater, which is one of the oldest and largest theatres in Hawaii, is one of the first recipients of the GreenSun Hawaii program. “With the financial help from The Queen’s Federal Credit Union and the installation of the solar electric (photovoltaic) equipment by Renewable Energy Services, Inc., GreenSun Hawaii has allowed me to achieve my goal to making the theater more sustainable,” said Dr. Keeney. “With this program, we will be able to reduce our operating expenses while having tangible positive environmental impacts in our community such as avoiding an estimated 720,000 lbs. of CO2 and reducing the use of 11,688 gallons of oil, which can be used over the life of the system. What’s interesting is that this amount is equivalent to planting 1,736 trees.”

For more information about GreenSun Hawaii, including loan application and solar contractor and financial institution listings, please visit: www.greensunhawaii.com.

About Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation
Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC) is a community-based non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1990 to facilitate affordable housing, community development and economic development statewide. Designated as a Community Development Financial Institution, Community Development Entity and Certified Development Company, HCRC provides below market, long-term fixed rate financing for multi-family rental projects and SBA 504 loans to small business owners.

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For more information, contact:

Mark B. Glick
State Energy Administrator
Phone: (808) 587-3812

Lois Hamaguchi
Energy Analyst
Phone: (808) 587-9006

Gwen Yamamoto Lau
President, HCRC
Phone: (808) 532-3113