Public Funding Resources in Hawaii

Finding capital in the early development phase of the business cycle is a challenging endeavor in any economy. Identifying and pursuing state and federal grant opportunities can be an excellent source of funding for pre-commercial stage companies. For more information, please click on the funding topic.

Public Sources of Funding: Grants

1)  SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research)
Summary:  The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena.

2)  HTDC (Hawaii Technology Development Corporation)  
Summary:  HTDC is a dynamic state agency responsible for diversifying Hawaii’s economy developing a flourishing technology industry that provides quality, high-paying jobs for Hawaii residents. HTDC aims to accelerate the growth of Hawaii’s technology industry by providing capital, building infrastructure and developing talent to foster innovation.

3)  Bioenergy and Crop-Related Research Support
SummaryFor Bioenergy concepts and companies that are in their infancy, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and the Daniel K. Inouye Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC) supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture are resources to inquire about research funding.

4)  Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E)
Summary:  The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy.

5)  Elemental Excelerator
Summary:  Elemental Excelerator co-funds, co-designs, and co-develops projects and strategies that improve infrastructure and sustainably enhance communities. Each year, Elemental Excelerator finds 12-15 companies that best fit our mission and fund each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, transportation, water, agriculture, and beyond.

Public Sources of Funding: Loan Programs

1)  Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority GEMS Financing Program (State of Hawaii)
Summary:  The Green Energy Market Securitization Program (GEMS) is an innovative, sustainable green financing initiative designed by the Hawaii State Energy Office to make clean energy improvements more affordable and accessible for Hawaii consumers.  The program provides low-cost capital to finance solar photovoltaic systems and other clean energy improvements for those who may otherwise have difficulty obtaining financing for these projects. Low-credit homeowners and renters, as well as nonprofits and small businesses are among those who will qualify for project financing through GEMS.

2)  Farm and Aquaculture Alternative Energy Loan Program (State of Hawaii)
Summary:  Under the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s loan program for agriculture and aquaculture renewable energy projects, farmers and aquaculturists may receive loans for projects involving photovoltaic (PV) energy, hydroelectric power, wind power generation, methane generation, bio-diesel and ethanol production. Loans may provide up to 85% of the project cost (up to a maximum of $1,500,000) for a term of up to forty years. To be eligible, the applicant must be a qualified farmer or aquaculturist with a sound credit rating and the ability to repay the loan, as determined by the Department of Agriculture.

3)  U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Loan Guarantees 
Summary:  REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements.

4)  U.S. Department of Treasury – New Markets Tax Credit Program
Summary:  The NMTC Program incentivizes community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities. In Hawaii, the NMTC Program is administered by Punawai O Puuhonu, a Community Development Entity (CDE) responsible for the management of New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) for the development of low income community projects in partnership with Oahu Economic Development Board.


Important Notice:
These resources are advisory and for informational purposes only and may not be relied upon to determine the available incentives. Contact the appropriate agencies and entities for information on local, state, and federal incentives for renewable energy. The listings, associations, and contacts herein are provided for informational purposes only and are not meant to be all inclusive. The Hawaii State Energy Office does not endorse or certify the individuals, firms ,or businesses on these lists. If you are a firm that engages in the specialization of commercial scale renewable energy project development, finance, consulting or investment services and wish be to added to the content found in these following summary pages, we welcome you to contact us and provide your information for listing.

For comments or questions about the Developer & Investor Center, please contact the Hawaii State Energy Office.