By Nina Wu
Get ready, get sun — and put solar on it.
Celebrate solar power this weekend with the rest of the U.S. as part of the "Put Solar on It" campaign on Saturday, June 21, the summer solstice (longest day of the year). Cities across the U.S. are offering solar-related events.
The campaign is led by actor Mark Ruffalo, which asks the public to commit to putting solar on a building — whether it be your home, your school, place of worship or business. In return, Mosaic, the company known for crowdfunding solar panel projects across the country, will offer you the tools to make the project happen. Ruffalo has committed to putting solar on his children's elementary school this year.
Solar just makes so much sense in Hawaii, which has set a goal of achieving 70 percent clean energy by 2030 as part of our Clean Energy Initiative. Hawaii has made some recent headway towards making this goal a reality.
Renewable Funding, based in Oakland, Calif. was recently selected to develop and manage Hawaii's "Green Energy Market Securitization" (GEMS) program, with the goal of opening the door to underserved markets.
GEMS will use $150 million in low-cost bond market funds in combination with other sources of private capital to finance the upfront cost of solar PV systems for thousands of residents and businesses in Hawaii. Financing is expected to begin in late 2014.
"The GEMS approach is a game changer — it allows residents and businesses to install clean energy improvements using the same kind of financing that had previously only been available for utility-scale facilities," said Renewable Funding CEO Cisco DeVries (also the founder of PACE). "We applaud Gov. Abercrombie, the Public Utilities Commission and the State Legislature for taking this ambitious step to expand the availability of clean energy in Hawaii."
A list of Top Community Places in Hawaii listed in the Put Solar On It campaign at joinmosaic.com/solar/hawaii include St. Andrews Priory, Aiea Public Library, Waipahu Intermediate School, Soto Academy and ‘Iolani School. You can vote to support any of these places online.
Solar has so much more potential in Hawaii.
Wilcox Memorial Hospital on Kauai recently announced the installation of a new photovoltaic (PV) system that should save it about $217,000 a year in energy costs, and $7.6 million over the life of the system.
As for me, I'll be looking up at the sun on Saturday, smiling...