Hawaiʻi Energy Launches Program to Encourage Electric Vehicle Charging

January 13, 2020, 11:18 AM HST · Updated January 13, 11:18 AM
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Molokaʿi’s first public electric vehicle charger was installed in December 2018 in the Kaunakakai town center. PC: Maui Electric Co.

Hawaiʻi Energy has launched a new Electric Vehicle Charging Station Incentive Program to help expand Hawaiʻi’s network of stations, support the electric vehicle charging infrastructure and encourage EV adoption throughout the state.

Established through Act 142 (2019) by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, Hawai‘i Energy will administer the state-funded program on behalf of the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission and will award a total of $400,000 in rebates for EVCS installation projects completed between Jan. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

“The use of electric vehicles has grown significantly over the years, however there are not enough public electric vehicle charging systems readily available for Hawai‘i drivers to encourage higher use of EVs,” said Brian Kealoha, executive director of Hawaiʻi Energy.  “Having more charging stations conveniently available for drivers is one way to help promote wider adoption of EV usage while also helping the state reduce carbon emissions and achieve its clean energy goal.”

“We are excited to offer this clean energy program through Hawai‘i Energy and make EV charging more accessible throughout the Islands,” said James Griffin, chair of the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission. “We thank the State Legislature for the support to launch this initiative and will work with stakeholders to provide a user-friendly program.”

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The EVCS Incentive Program provides rebates for:

  • Alternating current (AC) Level 2 multi-port charging stations with network connectivity –rebates of $4,500 (new installation) and $3,000 (retrofit); and
  • Direct current fast-charging (DC Fast-Charging) stations with network connectivity – rebates of $35,000 (new installation) and $28,000 (retrofit).

Eligible EV charging stations must be publicly available, serve multiple tenants, employees or customers, or serve EV fleets. Applicants may submit their applications within 12 months of the date that a qualifying EV charging station was installed, activated and available for use between Jan. 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Funding for the rebates will be done in two cycles:

  • Round 1 funding: $150,000 in rebates for EVCS installation projects completed on Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, and
  • Round 2 funding: $250,000 in rebates for EVCS installation projects completed on July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

Completed applications will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis and processed in the order received and as funds are available.  Hawai‘i Energy’s EVCS webpage will keep a running tally of the funds available.

“In Hawai‘i, the transportation sector far exceeds the power sector as a source of emissions, and the implementation of this program will facilitate Hawai‘i’s transition from a transportation sector that runs on fossil fuels to one that is powered by clean energy,” said State Representative Nicole Lowen, chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection. “These incentives for publicly accessible charging stations will help people who live in condos, renters, and low- and moderate-income families to participate in this transition.”

“Encouraging EV adoption depends upon having more charging stations. The demand for more charging stations depends on drivers buying EVs,” said Senator Glenn Wakai, chairman of the Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism. “It’s a chicken or egg scenario. This incentive is the state’s ‘egg.’ We anticipate it will ‘hatch’ more interest for kama’aina to get behind the wheel of an EV.”

To help the public learn more about all of Hawai‘i Energy’s programs, including the new EVCS program, the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, chaired by Rep. Lowen, and the Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development and Tourism chaired by Sen. Wakai will be holding an informational briefing on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol.

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