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State lawmakers OK funding for green energy program

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:16 p.m. HST, Apr 21, 2014

<br />2010 May 10 CTY - The Hawaii State Department of Education has embarked on an ambitious two-year plan to bring solar power to public schools throughout the state by awarding its first Power Purchase Agreement contract to Hawaii Pacific Solar, LLC."Utilizing renewable energy sources to reduce the cost of school operations is a top priority for the DOE," said Randolph Moore, assistant superintendent of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a legal arrangement that allows a third party organization to own and operate a solar photovoltaic system installed on a building or on land owned by an independent entity. The third party sells the energy produced by the system, usually at a discount, to the owner of the land or the building.<br />

House and Senate lawmakers Monday authorized the disbursement of up to $50 million in state funds to establish an infrastructure financing program aimed at making photovoltaic systems and energy efficiency improvements affordable to a wider audience.

The provision is a line item in the state executive budget bill that would go into effect after the measure is passed by the Legislature and signed in to law by the governor.

The budget appropriation would be used to administer the program, known as Green Energy Market Securitization.  The state plans to issue bonds under the program that would create a pool of funds from which residents and businesses could borrow to pay for solar panels and other energy-saving improvements.

The residents and businesses would repay the loans with the savings on their bills.

"Clearly, this levels the playing field for all of Hawaii's residents to be a part of Hawaii's effortss to be energy self-sufficient," said  Rep. Sylvia Luke, chairwoman of the House Finance Committee.

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