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Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light Co. have asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve a program that the utilities say would provide immediate solar water heating savings to residential customers at no up-front cost.

Under the proposed Simply Solar program, each utility would provide funding to install solar water heating on qualifying residential properties. Participating residents would experience an immediate reduction in monthly bills, while a portion of the savings from solar water heating each month would go to repay the cost of the installation. The savings and repayment would attach to the property, not the customer, which should appeal to renters and landlords as well as homeowners, the utilities say.

Simply Solar is proposed to be open annually, for three years, to at least 1,850 Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu, 450 Hawaii Electric Light Co. customers on the Big Island and 250 Maui Electric customers in Maui County. The utilities would own and maintain the solar water heating systems, which would be installed by approved independent solar water heating providers chosen through a competitive process.

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