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Pilot program offers incentives for new, upgraded electric vehicle charging stations

To boost availability, Hawaii Energy and Ulupono Initiative are offering a limited-time rebate for installing or upgrading electric vehicle charging stations in the state.

A $5,000 rebate is available to eligible workplaces or multi-unit residential dwellings in Honolulu, Maui and Hawaii counties for each new installation. Another rebate of $1,500 is available to each business or property owner who retrofits from single- to dual-port level 2 EV charging stations with network connectivity.

The pilot program’s intention is to help local businesses and property owners meet the increasing demand for daytime charging options for more than 8,300 registered EVs across the isles as part of the state’s clean transportation goals, according to Hawaii Energy, a ratepayer-funded energy conservation program, and Ulupono Initiative, a nonprofit.

“As our Hawaii Energy programs continue to evolve to meet our state’s clean energy and carbon neutral goals, we are pleased to offer this exciting rebate to help businesses and their employees to be able to charge their EVs at work rather than just at home or at retail outlets,” said Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawaii Energy, in a news release.

The stations, however, must be designated for the use of the building’s business employees, tenants and authorized guests, not for fleet charging, general public charging, or private, individually owned parking spots, officials said. The rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis and must be claimed by June 30, or while funding lasts, they added.

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

>> Be a commercial customer of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ utilities (HECO, HELCO, and MECO) and the owner or landlord of a workplace or multi-unit dwelling in Honolulu, Hawaii County or Maui County;

>> Have the legal authority to install a charging station in the designated parking area;=

>> Purchase and install the charging station by June 30.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s “Monthly Energy Trend Highlights” found the number of passenger electric vehicles grew to 8,331 passengers in December, which was 1,644 more, or 24.6 percent higher, than the same month the previous year.

Although Hawaii is considered a leader in the nation, demand by EV drivers is outpacing the supply of EV chargers, according to Hawaii Energy, in an evaluation of the EV public infrastructure in 2017. A new law requiring at least one EV charger at public lots with 100 or more parking stalls has helped increase the number available.

“Despite the high appeal and positive benefits of EVs, such as saving drivers money and no emissions, many drivers still have concerns about how and where to charge their vehicles,” said Greg Gaug, vice president of investments for Ulupono Initiative, in the news release. “Through this rebate, we are helping to address frustrations about the lack of sufficient charging stations overall and specifically at the workplace and multi-unit dwellings, such as condos and apartments. By having more charging options available in more places, we’re hoping to make it easier for people to choose an EV as their next vehicle.”

More information on the rebate program is available at hawaiienergy.com/evcharging.

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