Maui Business

Energy-efficiency grants available to small businesses, nonprofits and restaurants

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Hawaiʻi Energy is seeking applicants for its 2022-2023 EmPOWER Grant program, which is designed specifically for nonprofits, small businesses and restaurants that are pursuing energy efficiency projects at their facilities.

From now until Sept. 30, organizations may apply for a grant of up to $5,000, which may cover up to 100% of eligible energy efficiency projects.

Hawaiʻi Energy is the state’s Public Benefits Fund administrator that focuses on energy-efficiency education and clean-energy initiatives.


Caroline Carl, executive director of Hawai‘i Energy, said: “As many businesses are still recovering from the devastating economic impact caused by the pandemic, this year we are offering more than $300,000 in grants to small businesses, nonprofits and restaurants to help implement energy efficiency projects that save them money in the long run, all while becoming more energy efficient.”

EmPOWER Grant funding may be used to cover the following expenses of energy efficiency projects:

  • New energy efficient equipment, including HVAC systems, LED lighting, ENERGY STAR® certified commercial kitchen appliances, and refrigeration technologies like motor controls and adding doors and anti-sweat controls to open cases.
  • Parts, accessories and other materials necessary for installation.
  • Labor for old equipment removal, site preparation and installation of energy efficiency measure(s).
  • Shipping costs for equipment and materials.
  • Taxes for the above items.

To be eligible for the EmPOWER Grant, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Be a commercial rate schedule account holder of an electric utility on the island of Hawaiʻi, Lānaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi or Oʻahu where the electricity-saving energy efficiency measure is being installed.
  • Business must fall into ONE of the following categories: 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, small businesses with electric rate Schedule “G”, small business with less than a 5,000-square-foot facility or a restaurant.
  • Complete the installation with one of Hawai‘i Energy’s participating Clean Energy Ally contractors.

Preference will be given to organizations that serve populations identified as ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-constrained, Employed) or rural/other vulnerable communities, as well as organizations who have not participated with Hawai‘i Energy before.

Since 2020, Hawai‘i Energy has distributed more than $3 million to 285 small businesses, nonprofits and restaurants through the grant program. Hawai‘i Energy estimates that the energy-efficient upgrades have helped save more than $800,000 in total electricity costs since 2020.

A full list of eligible equipment, applications, and frequently asked questions are available online at Applications must be submitted by Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. HST to [email protected].


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