Native Hawaiian Nonprofit Expands its Solar Loan Program
The board of directors for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) are expanding the nonprofit's solar water loan program that helps Hawaiian residents install photo voltaic (PV) systems on their homes.
While solar water panels heat water, saving household residents between 25 to 45 percent on their utility bills, PV solar panels can convert solar energy to electricity, reducing household energy costs even more.
“Over the last 2 years, we’ve assisted close to 200 families to install solar water systems to cut utility costs,” said Rosalee Puaoi, CNHA loan fund manager, in a press release. “It’s a natural next step to help families go to the next level of further reducing monthly costs by installing PV on their homes.”
CNHA’s solar water program provides capital of up to $6,500 and, with the expansion of the product, will provide up to $15,000 to install photo voltaic solar panels.
“It’s really one of the best investments a homeowner can make,” said Lilia Kapuniai, CNHA vice president, in a press release. “The savings each month gives families a relief and an increase in disposable income.”
The PV program is structured to require $172 monthly payments—either entirely or mostly covered by the utility cost savings generated by the panels. On top of that, homeowners are able to claim up to 65 percent of the cost of the system, worth thousands of dollars.
“Back in 2008 and 2009, community leaders consistently told us families were struggling in the recession and identified solar as a meaningful way to increase their monthly disposable income immediately,” Kapuniai continued in the release. “It’s just one tool that we can give families to weather the down economy—it’s not a question of 'if' families can afford to make this type of home improvement, the data is clear, our community cannot afford to not make these improvements.”
CNHA's mission is twofold: to help Hawaiians take advantage of the cost saving that is generated from installing photovoltaic systems, and to encourage Hawaiians not to rely on fossil fuels for power.
CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian organizations, providing a strong voice on public policy, operating a community loan fund, delivering capacity building and leadership development services, and promoting philanthropy to cultural practitioners through its Hawaiian Way Fund.