Energy Efficiency Programs, Rebates, and Solar Initiatives

The following programs and resources may assist households in improving the energy efficiency of their homes, paying for energy efficient retrofit products, and purchasing home rooftop solar systems.

Energy Efficiency Programs

Improving the efficiency of your home is one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to lower your overall energy use and utility bills.

Federal Programs

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

WAP helps low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents reduce their energy bills by installing weatherization measures in their homes, and by educating communities about energy efficiency. To be eligible, applicants must be within 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline. More information is available at Income Guidelines and Tax Resources.

Examples of these weatherization measures, all free of charge, include:

  • Low-Flow Showerheads & Faucet Aerators
  • CFL or LED Lighting
  • Advanced Power Strips
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Small or Large Room Air Conditioners
  • Refrigerator Replacements

Please refer to your county’s Community Action Agency for information and to apply.

State-Level Programs

Green Energy Money $aver (GEM$) On-Bill Program

The GEM$ On-Bill Program provides an opportunity for LMI homeowners and renters to install an energy efficient or renewable energy system in and/or on their home and receive cost-saving benefits on their monthly utility bill. Eligible energy improvement projects include rooftop residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar hot water heaters, solar PV hot water heating systems or heat pumps.

The GEM$ On-Bill Program, administered by the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA), approves and finances the installation of energy improvement projects for qualified and interested LMI residents. There is no credit check or verification of income required. Approved projects must be installed by a HGIA-approved contractor and are eligible only if the installation provides an estimated minimum 10 percent bill savings on the applicant’s monthly electric utility bill.

Applicants may qualify for up to 100 percent of the project installation cost. All repayments for the costs of installing the energy improvements are transacted through the utility bill, per an agreement between HGIA and the electric utility. That is why this is called an “On-Bill Program”. Payments for and the resulting reduced electricity use from the energy installations are transacted in one place: the applicant’s utility bill. However, the post-installation monthly utility bill must be estimated to be at least 10 percent less than the resident’s pre-installation monthly bill. This means that while not guaranteed, the post-installation utility bill should be lower than it was pre-installation.

Requirements: Household income must be considered LMI, which for GEM$ is <140 percent of Area Median Income (go to Income Guidelines and Tax Resources). Participants must be a utility customer for at least six consecutive months without having received a disconnection notice in the past 12 months. This program is not available for residents of Kauai County.

Hawaii Energy’s Energy Smart 4 Homes (ES4H) Program

The ES4H program is available to Hawaii, Honolulu, and Maui county residents. This program improves the energy and water efficiency of participating residents by providing their homes with free energy efficient LED lightbulbs, high-efficiency shower heads and faucet aerators, as well as advanced power strips to reduce wasteful energy use. Residents serviced by electric water heaters are eligible for the full benefits of this program, while residents with non-electric water heaters are eligible for partial benefits of this program.

Hawaii Energy’s Clean Energy Allies

Hawaii Energy provides a helpful database of “Clean Energy Allies”, local contractors that are trained to assist residents in navigating their way around Hawaii Energy’s various incentive and rebate programs.

County-Level Programs

City and County of Honolulu: Solar Loan Program

The City and County of Honolulu offers interest-free loans to income-eligible homeowners to finance the installation of solar PV and solar water heating systems. This loan is offered through the City’s Rehabilitation Loan Program and is only available to residents of the City and County of Honolulu. Please see the City and County of Honolulu application for more information and income eligibility requirements.

City and County of Honolulu’s Rehabilitation Loan Program

The City and County of Honolulu offers a Rehabilitation Loan Program that makes low-interest loans to income-eligible, owner-occupant homeowners interested in repairing their properties. The loan can be used to repair deteriorated and hazardous conditions on the property, including leaky roofs, termite damage, and faulty electrical wiring. These repairs can make damaged rooftops solar-ready. Energy saving systems such as solar water heating and solar PV systems, excluding battery storage, are also eligible for installation.

Maui Solar Water Heating Financing

Hawaiian Electric, in partnership with the County of Maui, offers an interest-free financing program for solar water heaters. This program may be combined with Hawaii Energy’s $1,000 solar water rebate, in addition to some qualifying state and federal tax credits, making solar water heaters even more affordable to interested residents. The program is open to all Maui County residents, regardless of income, as long as they have a 12-month history of good payment and their home is occupied year-round as a primary domestic residence.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Solar Water Heater Loan Program

KIUC partners with Gather Federal Credit Union to offer interest-free loans to customers interested in changing their existing electric water heater for a solar water heating system. This program can also replace an existing non-functional solar water heater. Participants will only be required to pay the principal on the loan over five years, while KIUC pays the interest on the loan. KIUC also offers a $1,500 rebate on the new solar water heater.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Qualifying Member Application Replacement Program

KIUC will replace refrigerators (older than ten years) for free to qualifying low-income seniors (60+). The refrigerator must be their primary refrigerator and participants must meet federal poverty guidelines. This program can also be used to replace broken electric water heaters with new, more efficient heaters for free.

Kauai Economic Opportunity (KEO) Low Income Assistance Program

KEO has partnered with the KIUC Charitable Foundation to provide low-income residents of Kauai with one-time credit assistance on their energy utility bill. This program is only available once every 12 months. More information can be found by calling KEO at (808) 245-4077, extension 242, or by emailing [email protected].

Rebates

The following programs and resources provide rebates that may help residents afford more energy efficient products for their homes.

Hawaii Energy Rebates – Maui, Hawaii, and Honolulu County

Hawaii Energy is a valuable resource for all Hawaii residents in the counties of Maui, Hawaii, and Honolulu interested in reducing their energy use, improving their energy efficiency, and saving money on energy bills. Hawaii Energy provides rebate options for:

See the Promotions page for additional energy and cost saving tips.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) Rebates

KIUC offers several rebates for customers interested in improving the energy efficiency of their current appliances and upgrading their systems to renewable options. These rebates are available for:

  • Washers
  • Refrigerators/Freezers
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Solar Water Heaters
  • Heat Pump Water Heaters
  • Window AC Units

Solar Initiatives

This section is dedicated to highlighting successful solar campaign case studies, including Solarize Kauai and the upcoming Solarize Oahu. Solarize campaigns help facilitate community bulk-purchasing of rooftop solar PV systems, leveraging economies of scale to bring down the price of rooftop solar. Solarize campaigns are a great way to lower cost and educational barriers to renewable energy by increasing affordability and accessibility.

 

Important Notice:

These resources are advisory and for informational purposes only and may not be relied upon to determine available assistance. Contact the appropriate agencies and entities for additional information. 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, organizations, or agencies on these lists. If you are an organization or agency that provides energy financial assistance services and wish to be 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 Energy Financial Assistance Resources, please contact the Hawaii State Energy Office at [email protected].