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Loans available for residential PV systems

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The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism announced today that it has begun accepting loan applications from consumers seeking to finance solar photovoltaic systems.

The state’s Green Energy Market Securitization program is aimed at consumers who want to install solar systems but cannot afford the high upfront costs or do not qualify for traditional financing.

GEMS provides consumers the opportunity to save money on their electrical bills from the first day of PV system installation, with no money down.

The 20-year, fixed-rate loans are available for the purchase of a PV system installed at a single-family residence within the service areas of the Hawaiian Electric Cos.

The Residential Financing Program is the second financing product offered by GEMS. In March, GEMS began offering clean-energy loans to nonprofit organizations.

To apply for a GEMS loan, visit

Treetops opening for lunch, dinner buffets

Treetops, the restaurant at Paradise Park in Manoa Valley, will reopen for lunch and dinner buffet service at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The group that reopened Treetops five months ago had been operating the restaurant part time for the past two months but now has completed a management transition, according to a statement.

Luncheon buffet will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and reservations will be accepted for the 5-9 p.m. dinner buffet. In addition to the new buffet menu, there are reduced prices for walk-in customers.

New chef Robert Regasa worked for more than 20 years in restaurants including the 600 Club at Boston’s Fenway Park and the Coconut Grove Supper Club in San Francisco. He recently served as a food vendor for movie and television production companies operating in Hawaii.

Treetops initially opened for business in 1968.

Home prices increased 4.9 percent in April

WASHINGTON » U.S. home prices increased at a solid clip in April, led by double-digit jumps in Denver and San Francisco.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.9 percent in April from 12 months earlier, roughly the same annual pace as March, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday.

Strong job growth and low mortgage rates have prompted greater demand for housing, boosting home values. The continued gains are at roughly double the pace of wage growth, but current levels appear more manageable than the double-digit home price increases seen during parts of 2013 and 2014.

U.S. consumers gaining more confidence

WASHINGTON » Consumer confidence showed a solid gain in June following a modest increase in May, supporting the view that strong job gains are giving a boost to the overall economy.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 101.4 in June, up from a May reading of 94.6. The June level matches the level in March. The index took a tumble in April.

The index is now 17.4 percent higher than it was a year ago, evidence that the economy is poised to enjoy stronger growth in coming months.

Federal Export-Import bank shuts down

WASHINGTON » Conservatives cheered the demise of the federal Export-Import Bank on Tuesday and vowed to beat back efforts to revive it, even as business leaders issued dire warnings that letting the agency expire at midnight would hurt U.S. competitiveness globally.

The charter of the 81-year-old government agency expires at midnight Tuesday without congressional action, and with the House and Senate on recess for the July 4 holiday, there was no chance of a last-minute reprieve.


Aloha United Way has announced that the following executives have joined its board of directors: 

» Scott Barber is president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Telcom.

» Christopher Dods is executive vice president of the marketing and card services divisions at First Hawaiian Bank.

» Guy Fujimura is secretary-treasurer of ILWU Local 142.

» Tracy Hayashi is vice president and assistant business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1186.

» Len Isotoff is director of sales of the Pacific region for Matson Navigation Co.

» Kevin Sakamoto is executive vice president and branch division manager for Bank of Hawaii.

» Jeffrey Wata­nabe is retired founding partner of Wata­nabe Ing.

» Jeff Westphal is vice president and district manager of Nordic PCL Construction’s operations throughout Hawaii.

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