Free, Energy-Saving Lighting Program Still Available to Small Businesses & Restaurants

Posted March 21, 2014

Hawaii Energy, the ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program serving the islands of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu, is offering small businesses and restaurants an opportunity to replace their old lighting with newer energy-efficient ones for free now until June 9, 2014.

Hawaii is the most oil dependent state in America and has the highest energy prices. Businesses pay about $0.33 per kilowatt hour (kWh) on Oahu and slightly more on the neighbor islands. These rates are about three times the national average of $0.10 per kWh.

Lighting can account for nearly half of a retail business’ overall electricity costs at 48 percent; 27 percent for offices and 18 percent for restaurants.

Since Hawaii Energy’s Small Business Direct Install Lighting program (SBDIL) launched in July 2011, a total of 1,790 small businesses and restaurants on Hawaii Island, Lanai, Maui and Oahu have participated in the program that provides free1 consultation, lighting and installation.

These businesses ranged from hardware stores, surf shops to art galleries and bakeries. The total amount of electricity saved on lighting was 9.4 million kWh, equivalent to $310,200.

During an installation, old incandescent bulbs and halogen lighting are removed and replaced with new, lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The new lighting has a longer life span, produces less heat, improves visibility and may better accentuate retail merchandise.

In order to qualify, businesses must have an individual meter and be on an electric rate schedule G, or occupy a work space of less than 5,000 square feet. Businesses are also required to work with a Hawaii Energy-approved lighting contractor for an assessment, approval and lighting installation.

Restaurants on any electric rate schedule or of any size can qualify since they are a historically underserved and considered a hard-to-reach business.

One restaurant that benefited from the SBDIL program, celebrating its 50th anniversary in May, was the Pagoda Floating Restaurant. A total of 242 interior and exterior LEDs were installed in the restaurant. An additional 334 lower wattage T8 lights and 27 CFLs were installed in all three of its ballrooms (Mauka, Makai and Diamond Head).

“We were unaware there was a lighting program like Hawaii Energy’s until a business colleague told us and we’re glad he did,” said Jason Takemura, Executive Chef, Pagoda Floating Restaurant. “Not only did we save a lot of money toward our overhead costs, the new lights lend a warmer, homier ambience for our guests.”

Hawaii Energy incentivized 100 percent of the project costs of $39,021. The anticipated annual savings toward electricity is $14,400 (based on forecasted savings of 50,000 kWh at $0.30 per kWh).

Energy savings from the SBDIL program and Hawaii Energy’s wide range of residential rebates and business incentive offerings contribute to helping the State achieve the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI) goal of reducing total electricity usage by 4.3 billion kWh by 2030.

For more information or to apply to the SBDIL program, visit Or call 839-8800 on Oahu and toll-free at (877) 231-8222 on the neighbor islands.

Kupu Hawaii’s RISE Program
In 2013, Hawaii Energy teamed up with a local non-profit called Kupu Hawaii that is focused on sustainability and the development of Hawaii’s green-collar workforce. Kupu Hawaii’s RISE program (Rewarding Internships for Sustainable Employment) provides college students and young professionals with hands-on learning opportunities through paid internships funded by Hawaii Energy.

There are a total of six interns on Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu who conduct SBDIL post-inspections on their respective islands. Their goal is to verify that all of the lighting was properly installed, and fully operational and to address any questions or concerns from customers.