There are many options when it comes to financing green improvements to your home or property, such as home equity loans, energy efficient mortgages, rebates from utilities, and more. Researching your options can help you determine what financing will work best for you.
Go Green Financing - Clearinghouse
Go Green Financing is an unbiased clearinghouse of available energy efficiency financing programs and is sponsored by the state of California. Go Green Financing was created to help you find the best financing options available for your energy efficiency project. This website allows California residents and businesses to browse a continuously updated database of financing solutions and filter the various options down to a more manageable number, making it easy to get in touch with a lender that fits your own unique needs and preferences. Visit Go Green Financing.
Some financing options that may be less well known are highlighted below individually, but this is not an exhaustive list. These financing options include financing for energy efficiency, solar, electric vehicle charging stations, and water conservation:
- California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) & Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL)
- PG&E 0% On-Bill Financing
- Energy Efficiency Mortgages
- Solar Financing
- Solar Rebates and Incentives
- Tax Credits
- Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing
California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) and Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL)
The California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) is a public-private partnership among state agencies, utilities, lenders, contractors, and borrowers. The program is the result of a decision made by the state of California who authorized the CHEEF to help California achieve its energy savings goals by increasing the availability of lower-cost financing for energy efficiency investments throughout the state. Interested contractors and lenders can visit the CHEEF website here.
The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) program was developed by the state to help California reach its aggressive clean energy goals and reduce climate pollution. The program allows lenders to offer attractive financing, so homeowners can improve the energy efficiency and comfort of their homes. Homeowners can visit REEL here.
PG&E 0% On-Bill Financing (Commercial/Business)PG&E offers 0% interest loans of $5,000-$100,000 to companies for energy efficient upgrades, like LEDs, HVAC, and refrigeration. The loans are repaid over a period of 5 years. Find out more about the 0% interest loan program.
An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home's energy efficiency in the mortgage itself. EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home. Learn more about an Energy Efficient Mortgage.
- There are many options for financing solar, including home equity loans and power purchase agreements (PPA) agreements, so consider what is best for you. Learn more about financing options specific to solar here.
- PACE Financing allows property owners to finance energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy, and electric vehicle infrastructure upgrades to their property by repaying the cost of the improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. Some lenders may require the PACE assessment to be repaid before refinancing or selling your home.
- PG&E customers are eligible for net energy metering (NEM), which credits excess electricity production at the 12-month average of the market rate for energy. Over a 12-month period, the customer has to pay for only the net amount of electricity used from PG&E over-and-above the amount of electricity generated by their solar system. You can find out more about how to participate here.
- MCE electricity customers are eligible for a generous NEM program that provides extra incentives, as well as a Feed-In Tariff program for renewable energy projects.
- California Solar Initiative is accepting rebate applications from low-income customers in two programs, the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program and the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program. Find out more at their website.
- An extensive list of incentives throughout the country can be found at the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
- The Federal Tax Credits for solar technologies expire at the end of 2021. For more information about federal tax credits for residential solar systems, click here.
- The Federal Tax Credit for commercial renewable energy systems applies to many technologies. This tax credit is applicable to utilities, commercial, industrial, and agricultural sectors. For more information about federal tax credits for commercial systems, click here.
What is PACE?
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to finance energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy, and electric vehicle infrastructure upgrades to their property by repaying the cost of the improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill. There are residential PACE programs and commercial PACE programs. Commercial property owners and multi-family property owners (5+ units) are eligible for commercial PACE financing.
Three PACE programs are available in Walnut Creek. The City of Walnut Creek allows PACE programs to operate within its jurisdiction to give consumers an additional financing option, but does not administer the programs. For questions, contact the programs directly. Pick the program that best fits your needs.
- California HERO Program (residential and commercial)
- CMFA Open PACE, an umbrella group offering the following PACE programs:
- Energy Efficiency Equity (residential)
- Structured Finance Associates (commercial)
- OnPACE Energy Solutions (commercial)
- Blue Flame (commercial)
- CSCDA Open PACE, an umbrella group offering the following PACE programs:
- CaliforniaFIRST (residential and commercial)
- Alliance NRG (residential and commercial)
- PACEfunding (residential, commercial program under development)
- Spruce Finance (residential)
- Clean Fund Commercial PACE Capital (commercial)
- Figtree Financing PACE(residential and commercial)
- Ygrene PACE Program (residential and commercial)
Benefits of PACE
- No money down, fixed interest rates, and low annual payments: Long term PACE financing of up to 20 years results in low annual payments allowing energy savings to offset PACE payments.
- Voluntary: Property owners choose to participate in the program at their own discretion.
- Payment obligation is tied to the property: A voluntary assessment lien stays with the property upon transfer of building ownership (NOTE: Some residential lenders may not allow payment obligations to transfer and will require repayment, so ask your PACE program for more information. You may be required to pay off the assessment before selling or refinancing your home)
- Increased property values: More efficient properties are typically worth more.
- Get Tax Incentives and Rebates: The property owner owns the system so they can apply for rebates and tax incentives for the improvement.
- Reduce energy and water use: Energy efficiency and water conservation improvements can help lower utility bills.
Potential PACE drawbacks
- While residential PACE payment obligations are designed to be tied to the property, some residential lenders may not allow payment obligations to transfer and will require repayment, so ask your PACE program for more information. You may be required to pay off the assessment before selling or refinancing your home. Those homeowners who are looking to sell or refinance in the near future should consider whether PACE works for their situation.