Nonprofit Loan Fund to Partner with Hawaii Energy, Conservation and Efficiency Program


November 30, 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution, has joined the Hawaii Energy, Conservation and Efficiency Program (Hawaii Energy) to reduce interest rates on loans made to families for the installation of solar water-heating systems.  The “Hot Water, Cool Rates” Program is an initiative of Hawaii Energy that partners with eligible lenders on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu to reduce the cost of financing.

“We are thrilled to be a participating lender of the Hawaii Energy, Conservation and Efficiency Program,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President and CEO.  “With loan capital from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, this will make it even more affordable for homestead families to install solar water-heating systems.  Our hope in 2011 is to access additional loan capital that will enable our loan products to serve all Native Hawaiians, no matter where they live.”

The “Hot Water, Cool Rates” Program helps families borrow funds at below-market rates, by paying for up to $1,000 in interest costs.  Lenders in the Program include First Hawaiian Bank, Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union, Hawaii National Bank, and now, CNHA as a community loan fund serving Native Hawaiian households.  CNHA currently operates the Hawaiian Energy Program which provides grants to eligible low-income households, and loans to any qualifying-income level households, to install solar water-heating systems.  With flexible repayment terms, payments are as low as $72 dollars a month with no money required upfront to complete an installation.

“Assisting families to access capital to make this important retrofit to their homes is absolutely critical,” said Lilia Kapuniai, CNHA Community Services Manager.  “It reduces household expenses in the first month, and helps families to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

Effective December 1, 2010, CNHA will begin reducing its interest rate pricing for all loans eligible for the “Hot Water, Cool Rates” Program.  The interest rate reduction is not limited by income and is available to all borrowers in the Hawaii, Maui and Oahu counties.  If you are interested in applying for a low-interest loan to install a solar water-heating system on your home, contact Brett Nakoa, CNHA Loan Fund Officer, or Ashley Kaono, CNHA Community Development Specialist at or 808.596.8155.

Hawaii Energy, Conservation and Efficiency Program is an independent company operated under contract by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) to provide energy efficiency services to Hawaii residents. This contract is the result of the Hawaii Legislature allowing HPUC to move programs away from the electric utilities to an independent, third-party administrator. Pursuant to this legislative action, HPUC awarded a competitively bid contract to Science Applications International Corporation on March 3, 2009, to administer the State of Hawaii’s Energy Efficiency programs for Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu counties on July 1, 2009 under the name “Hawaii Energy.” For more information please visit

CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, and community development of Native Hawaiians. For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll free at 800.709.2642, by email at, or visit our website at


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