Residents of the Affordable Housing Community will See Significant Savings on Their Electricity Bills with Systems Financed through 3rd Party Leases
Honolulu, HI – (May 17, 2022) – Holu Hou Energy LLC (“HHE”), a provider of design to service solar plus energy storage systems, including a breakthrough product for the Residential and Multi-Dwelling Unit residential building markets, has partnered with the Hawaii Green Energy Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) to bring its solar plus energy storage systems to the Kunia Village affordable housing community on the island of Oahu. Under the arrangement, HHE and HGIA have created a 3rd party lease program leveraging HGIA’s “GEMS” financing product, whereby the community members can enroll in the energy savings program. The GEMS program was created by the State in 2014 to facilitate Hawaii’s transition to renewable energy and meeting its target of 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2045.
Kunia Village was once part of Del Monte pineapple plantation which operated on the island from 1916 until 2007, providing workforce housing to plantation workers, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the Village is owned by Kunia Village Title Holding Corporation, a subsidiary of the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC), a 127 year-old non-profit research organization. The housing facilities are managed by EAH Housing and Lani Properties, Hawaii State licensed property management companies.
Kunia Village includes 135 housing units, a church, an administration building, a former store, and a gymnasium. This former plantation camp was reborn to provide housing mainly for farm workers who made less than 60% of the median income in Hawaii. The housing units are a collection of new housing and rehabilitated or repaired existing historic houses.
The lease program that has been created will enable financing of the generating and storage assets over a 20-year period, with the residents saving between 10% and 25% on their utility bills based upon the current electricity rate. Multiple investors have signed on to carry the leases at the community, and they will be able to take advantage of the Federal and State Solar Energy Tax Credit as well as the accelerated depreciation. Each unit will have solar generation as well as a HoluPower energy storage system. The installations will be performed by HHE, an approved contractor for HGIA financed projects.
At present, approximately 20% of the members of the more than 135 unit community have signed-up to take advantage of the program. “Assisting the tenants at Kunia Village, an affordable housing development serving persons in the agricultural industry with combined incomes targeted at 60% of the area median income, lower their energy cost is an example of what our policy-makers envisioned when they created the Authority,” said Gwen Yamamoto Lau, executive director of the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority. “It is critical, now more than ever with the significant increase in the cost of oil, for installations like this to be implemented for those underserved ratepayers previous locked out of solar.”
It has been a longstanding challenge to “democratize” renewable energy, meaning enable the affordability and financing required to penetrate the most economically challenged segment of society. HHE’s ability to economically address the affordable housing market is a key differentiator, and there are many thousands of units of affordable housing in Hawaii that currently do not have renewable energy.
Kunia Village is the second major installation for HHE that addresses this challenge. In 2021, the company commissioned a solar plus storage system at the 134 unit Koa’e Workforce Housing complex in Koloa, Kauai. That installation utilizes the proprietary HHE Energy Share technology across the 23 building multi-dwelling unit property, whereas Kunia Village will use individual HoluPower systems at each of the housing units across the community.
Also noteworthy is that Kunia Village will take advantage of the Hawaiian Electric (“HECO”) “Battery Bonus Incentive”, whereby the system receives a rebate of up to $850 per KW of registered system discharging during the evening peak.
The Holu Hou Energy HoluPower energy storage system is a complete, integrated product, including a state of the art 9.6kW hybrid inverter that can control two 15.2 kWh storage batteries and 4 PV strings. The system includes the power electronics and autotransformer that enable smooth transition between off-grid and on-grid. It also includes an energy controller and software app operated in conjunction with the HHE Cloud computing platform for command, control and communications.
About Holu Hou Energy, LLC
Holu Hou Energy, LLC, a Delaware Corporation, brings state-of-the-art renewable energy and energy storage systems to the Single-Family Residential, Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential and Commercial building markets. With operations in California, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Shanghai, HHE engineers proprietary storage system and control platform solutions, including a breakthrough “HHE Energy Share” technology that is key to development of the Multi-Dwelling Unit Residential housing market. HHE is a vital partner for investors and asset owners that are seeking ESG solutions.
About Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority
Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (“HGIA”) is a state agency, attached to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), which administers the Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) Financing Program. The GEMS Program is intended to create market driven public-private partnerships that will open access to financing for more Hawaii customers and democratize access to clean energy.
About Hawaii Agricultural Research Center
The Hawaii Agricultural Research Center (HARC) was originally the research committee of the Hawaii Sugar Planters’ Association. It is the surviving segment of the sugar industry in Hawaii. Its primary mission is to perform scientific research and to develop and demonstrate appropriate technologies. In addition, it supports the development of affordable agricultural worker housing or the formation of non-profit subsidiaries to develop such housing. To that end, it has two subsidiaries for agricultural affordable housing: Kunia Village Title Holding Corporation, to hold the land and Kunia Village Development Corporation to hold the land, and Kunia Village Development Corporation to develop the Kunia Village infrastructure.