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New law will provide financing for renewable energy projects

  • HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISERHawaii utilities rank in top 10 in U.S. for solar generating capacity installed.
    Hawaii utilities rank in top 10 in U.S. for solar generating capacity installed.

A plan to allow utility customers in Hawaii to finance renewable energy investments through a monthly charge on their electric bills took a major step forward today with Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signing of a law establishing a financing structure for the program.

The initiative, known as “on-bill financing” will require additional work by the state Public Utilities Commission, which hopes to have the program up and running by early next year.

Abercrombie’s signing of SB1087 allows the state to issue bonds that will provide funding for the on-bill financing scheme. The Green Energy Market Securitization program authorized by the legislation creates a fund from which utility customers can borrow to pay for solar photovoltaic systems, energy-efficient lighting systems and other “green” projects aimed at reducing the state’s reliance on oil for electricity generation.

“This new measure allows us to bring clean energy improvements within reach for a broader segment of the community,” Abercrombie said at a bill-signing ceremony. “More of Hawaii’s residents will be able to take advantage of green devices that will ultimately lower electricity bills and contribute to the state’s clean energy growth,” he said.

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