BY MONICA SALTER — Lt. Governor Duke Aiona today announced four of Hawaii’s top financial institutions will be providing a benefit of over $1.3 million dollars for Hot Water, Cool Rates, a new solar water-heater loan interest-buydown program.

Hot Water, Cool Rates is an incentive program that enables homeowners to save approximately $1,000 in interest when financing the installation of a solar-water heating system installed by a Hawaii Energy Participating Solar Contactor.

Qualified borrowers will capture the savings through attractive rates and special loan terms through the Hawai‘i Energy Participating Lenders. This innovative program removes the upfront cash barrier that currently prevents many residents from investing in solar energy, while simultaneously moving Hawai`i closer to energy independence.

“This program helps our residents and families reduce their energy costs, and invest in a clean energy future,” said Lt. Governor Aiona. “Through innovative and collaborative programs, we are making significant progress in transforming Hawai`i from the most foreign-oil dependent state in the nation into a true leader for clean and sustainable energy.”

Co-funding for the Hot Water, Cool Rates program comes from an ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act) grant and the Public Benefits Fee Administrator (PBFA) fund. This new program is administered by Hawai`i Energy, a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program administered by R. W. Beck (an SAIC Company), under a contract with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Participating lenders in the Hot Water, Cool Rates program include Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawai‘i National Bank, and Hawai‘i USA Federal Credit Union. Other local lenders are encouraged to contact Hawai`i Energy to join in.

“Our commitment to Hawai`i becoming a world model for energy independence and sustainability has never been greater,” said Ted Peck, Energy Program Administrator at the State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT).

“Hot Water, Cool Rates is another example of how we continue to creatively implement and support new programs and policies that incentivize enhanced conservation and energy reduction.”

The goal of the program is to accelerate the move to solar energy and increase the 4,000 solar water heating systems installed in Hawaii each year. With an average cost approaching $7,000, many homeowners seek financing to pay for the systems.

The Hot Water, Cool Rates program makes it possible for more Hawai`i residents to afford the energy-saving units. “By installing a solar water heater, one home can save approximately $10 to $15 per person, per month. This is because solar water heating can provide about 90 percent of a family’s water heating needs,” said Ray Starling, program manager for Hawaii Energy. “While the initial out-of-pocket expenses of a solar water heater may be higher than a traditional water heater, it has been proven that these systems pay for themselves several times over during their lifetimes.”

There’s more good news on the energy front: the State of Hawai`i is now nationally ranked as having the 12th best energy-efficiency program, up seven spots since last year, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released earlier this month.

The improved ranking from ACEEE is a testament to the dedication of Hawai`i’s entire energy community, working together to help the State achieve the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative objective of supplying 70 percent clean energy by 2030.

The key players that helped to boost the ranking include: Hawai‘i Energy, the PUC, DBEDT, Governor, Lt. Governor, the State Legislature, our Congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the State’s electric utilities, and many community and private organizations who have committed significant time and resources to this critical statewide effort.

Hawaii’s innovative energy programs are helping to transform the state from the most imported-oil dependent state in the nation into a true leader for clean and sustainable energy.

Visit www.HawaiiEnergy.com or www.HawaiiCleanEnergyInitiative.org to find out more on how to save energy and contribute to making Hawai‘i a greener, more sustainable state.

Hawaii Energy is a ratepayer-funded conservation and efficiency program administered by R. W. BECK (an SAIC Company) under contract with the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission serving the islands of Hawai‘i, Lana‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and O‘ahu.

Monica Salter is with the Bennet Group PR

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