California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority

Updates from the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (the Hub)

GoGreenFinancing.com ahora se encuentra disponible en español

Scroll down to read in English.

illustration of houses

20 de noviembre del 2020 — La plataforma orientada al público sobre los programas del Centro de Financiamiento para la Eficiencia Energética de California (California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing, CHEEF), un organismo estatal de la Tesorería del estado, ahora está disponible en forma bilingüe. Los habitantes de California que hablen español pueden visitar GoGreenFinancing.com, elegir “Español” en ele menú desplegable en la esquina superior derecha de la pantalla, para así explorar las opciones de financiamiento administradas por el estado para mejoras de eficiencia energética para viviendas y empresas. Los usuarios también pueden ingresar de forma directa a GoGreenFinancing.com/es.

En la página, los usuarios pueden aprender sobre las medidas de ahorro de energía que califican, como la climatización eficiente, ventanas con doble vidrio hermético, electrodomésticos de Energy Star®, calentadores de agua con bombas de calor, entre otros. Allí también pueden encontrar un contratista (con la opción de buscar uno que hable español) y elegir la institución financiera. Actualmente, las instituciones financieras que participan del programa residencial ofrecen tasas de interés del 3.48% al 8.12%.

Cerca del 44%, o 17 millones de personas, de los 39 millones de habitantes de California hablan un idioma distinto del inglés en sus hogares y los hablantes de español representan a más de 10 millones de ellos. La traducción del contenido de GoGreenFinancing.com al segundo idioma más hablado en California logra el cometido de CHEEF de hacer los programas de ahorro de energía estén disponibles para tantos habitantes como dueños de empresas como sea posible. De conformidad con esos objetivos, CHEEF también extiende la elegibilidad para el programa a los arrendatarios (en lugar de solo a los propietarios); a los habitantes de viviendas manufacturadas, que a veces están excluidos de los programas de energía; y a las empresas que no tienen un historial de crédito establecido, como los nuevos negocios y las operaciones de cannabis.

El CHEEF es administrado por la Autoridad de Financiamiento de Transporte Avanzado y Energía Alternativa de California (California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority), un organismo estatal de la Tesorería del estado. GoGreenFinancing.com es la plataforma orientada al público sobre los programas del Centro de Financiamiento para la Eficiencia Energética de California (CHEEF).


GoGreenFinancing.com Now Available en Español

Nov. 20, 2020 — The public-facing online platform for the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) programs, housed in the State Treasurer’s Office, is now bilingual. Spanish-speaking Californians can visit GoGreenFinancing.com, select “Español” from the toggle menu in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and explore state-administered financing options for energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses. Users may also navigate directly to GoGreenFinancing.com/es..

On the site, visitors can learn about qualifying energy-saving measures, including efficient HVACs, double-paned windows, Energy Star® appliances, heat pump water heaters and more. They can also find a contractor (with the option of choosing one who speaks Spanish) and select a lender. Participating lenders for the residential program are currently offering interest rates of 3.48% to 8.12%.

About 44% of California’s 39 million residents, or 17 million people, speak a language other than English at home, with Spanish speakers accounting for more than 10 million of those. Translating GoGreenFinancing.com into California’s second-most-widely spoken language aligns with the CHEEF’s goals of making its energy-saving programs available to as many residents and business owners as possible. In line with those goals, CHEEF also extends program eligibility to tenants (as opposed to property owners only); residents of manufactured homes, which are sometimes excluded from energy programs; and businesses that do not have established credit history, such as new businesses and cannabis operations.

CHEEF is managed by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, which is housed in the State Treasurer’s Office. GoGreenFinancing.com is the public-facing platform for the CHEEF programs.


Celebrating Energy Efficiency Day with $15M in Efficiency Upgrades

illustration of houses

Oct. 6, 2020 – As organizations nationwide prepare to celebrate Energy Efficiency Day on Oct. 7, the California State Treasurer’s Office marks a new milestone for the state-administered Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Assistance (REEL) Program. The REEL Program reached $15 million in financing for energy efficiency projects with the Sept. 28 enrollment of a loan for an energy-efficient air conditioner and cool roof for a home in Bakersfield. REEL has now helped more than 900 California homeowners and renters make their homes more comfortable and efficient by facilitating lower interest rates and affordable payments for energy retrofits.

REEL loans are currently offered by seven credit unions. Interest rates through REEL, currently at historic lows, range between 3.48% and 8.12%; conventional unsecured personal loans from the same lenders carry rates of up to 20.88%. REEL provides a loan loss reserve to lenders, which they can draw upon as a form of insurance in case a borrower defaults. This form of risk mitigation allows lenders to extend credit at lower rates, for longer terms, and to borrowers with lower credit scores than they otherwise could. The result is that more Californians are able to invest in energy-saving home improvements like insulation, double-paned windows, efficient HVACs, Energy Star appliances and cool roofs.

Launched as a pilot program in 2016 and approved for transition to a full program in April 2020, REEL is part of a concerted and longstanding commitment by California to reduce energy use. The state is a national leader in energy efficiency, ranked 48th in the country in per-capita energy consumption. Since the late 1970s, California’s appliance and building standards have saved consumers more than $100 billion in utility bills and frequently led the nation and the world in setting cleaner standards and transforming markets.

Energy efficiency is considered one of the keys to California’s success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. SB 350, passed in 2015, requires California to double its previously anticipated energy efficiency savings in existing buildings between 2015 and 2030 in service to that goal. SB 350 also stipulates that traditionally underserved Californians benefit from energy efficiency improvements. More than half (54%) of REEL projects have been in low-to-moderate-income census tracts.

The REEL program administration and the loan loss reserve are funded by ratepayers of California’s investor-owned utilities (PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and SoCalGas) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. REEL is administered by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA), which is housed in the State Treasurer’s Office. Learn more at the program’s customer-facing website, GoGreenFinancing.com.


AMF Program Welcomes Ascentium Capital

Ascentium logoSept. 4, 2020 — The Affordable Multifamily Energy Efficiency Financing (AMF) program, housed within the California State Treasurer’s Office, has a new finance provider. Ascentium Capital LLC is now providing equipment finance agreements of $10,000 to $250,000 for energy efficiency upgrades to affordable multifamily properties. Ascentium was approved for enrollment by the AMF program’s administrator, the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Authority (CAEATFA), on August 18, 2020.

Ascentium’s enrollment allows the AMF program to fill a gap by offering financing for small-to-medium-sized projects. The AMF program’s first enrolled finance provider, Renew Energy Partners, offers energy service agreements from $250,000 to $10 million.

An equipment finance agreement is similar to an equipment lease in that it is secured by the equipment being financed. This allows customers to access financing without using their property or other business assets as collateral. With an equipment finance agreement, the customer is the “owner” of the equipment, whereas with a traditional lease, ownership remains with the finance company throughout the term. Both equipment finance agreements and leases offer the opportunity to purchase the equipment at the end of the term.

This is Ascentium’s second financing product offered through CAEATFA programs; the firm offers equipment finance agreements of $10,000 to $2 million for the Small Business Energy Efficiency Financing program. Ascentium also participates in the CalCAP On-Road Heavy-Duty Vehicle Air Quality Loan Program through the State Treasurer’s Office.

The AMF program provides financing for energy efficiency upgrades to multifamily properties of five or more units where at least 50% of the units are reserved for tenants with low-to-moderate household incomes. For more information on eligibility and financing, please visit GoGreenFinancing.com.

AMF is part of the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF, or “the Hub”), which is housed in CAEATFA. The Hub’s customer-facing website is GoGreenFinancing.com.


AMF Program Regulations Take Effect

multifamily housingJune 17, 2020 – Staff has completed the rulemaking process for the Affordable Multifamily Energy Efficiency Financing (AMF) Program. The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulations, which went into effect on June 17. They may be viewed here.

The CAEATFA board first approved emergency regulations for the AMF Program on April 16, 2019. The emergency regulations remained in effect for 180 days and were readopted twice, for two consecutive 90-day periods, while CAEATFA staff worked to refine the program and gather public input. The public process resulted in several clarifications to the program regulations, including language more clearly conveying the Program’s accommodation of both financing and energy service agreements. As affordable multifamily debt structures can be complicated with little to no room to add additional financing, service agreements are an attractive option in which the energy measures and installation are provided as a service and can be paid for through actual energy savings.

AMF is a financing program that targets energy efficiency improvements for multifamily properties of five or more units where at least 50% of the units are designated for low-to-moderate income households (80-120% Area Median Income, per HCD guidelines). AMF, which opened for business in the summer of 2019, has enrolled its first finance company. Renew Energy Partners offers energy service agreements between $250,000 and $10 million for terms of up to 10 years. The AMF Program is seeking additional lenders; for information, contact cheef@treasurer.ca.gov or call 916.651.8157.

AMF is part of the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF, or “the Hub”), which is housed in the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). Learn more about AMF on the Hub’s customer-facing website, GoGreenFinancing.com.


REEL Supports $12M in Energy Efficiency Upgrades for California Homes

housesMay 28, 2020 – The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Assistance (REEL) Program reached the $12 million mark today with the enrollment of a loan for an energy-efficient furnace in Riverside County. REEL has now helped 696 California homeowners and renters make their homes more comfortable and energy-wise by facilitating lower interest rates and affordable payments for energy efficiency improvements such as Energy Star appliances, cool roofs, insulation and efficient HVACs.

REEL currently works with seven credit unions across the state, offering them a credit enhancement in the form of a loan loss reserve, which functions as a type of insurance for the lender in case of borrower default. In exchange, the lenders offer more attractive rates and terms for customers than they otherwise could. Interest rates for REEL financing, currently at historic lows, range from 3.48% to 8.12%. The same lenders are charging interest rates for comparable non-REEL loans of up to 20.88%, with most falling in the 8%-14% range.

REEL is state-administered and funded by the investor-owned utilities (IOUs) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). REEL was designed to help California reach its climate goals by increasing accessibility to energy efficiency improvements in existing single-family homes (including mobile homes, townhomes, condos and multiplexes up to four units). More than half of the Golden State’s building stock predates California’s stringent 1978 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, and the California Energy Commission has estimated that improving energy efficiency in all the state’s existing buildings could save 15-18% of California’s electricity and natural gas consumption.

REEL is part of the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF, or “the Hub”), which is housed in the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). Learn more about REEL on the Hub’s customer-facing website, GoGreenFinancing.com. Finance companies interested in partnering with REEL should contact program managers at cheef@treasurer.ca.gov.


Pilot Milestone: More Than $1M in Small Business Energy Retrofits

small business - cafeMay 1, 2020 – As of this week, the Small Business Energy Efficiency Financing (SBF) Program has financed $1.4 million in energy efficiency improvements for California businesses. The project that put the program across the $1 million line was a large HVAC system upgrade for an office building in Southern California.

The SBF Program helps small businesses across the state access attractive financing for energy retrofits. These include energy-efficient equipment and appliances, lighting and insulation. Both tenants and property owners may qualify as long as their business or nonprofit meets at least one of the following criteria: it has 100 or fewer employees, it has less than $15 million in annual revenue, or it conforms with Small Business Administration size guidelines for its industry.

The SBF Program is part of the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF, or “the Hub”), which is housed in the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). To learn more about SBF, visit the Hub’s customer-facing website, GoGreenFinancing.com.


REEL Approved to Transition from Pilot to Program

California state sealApril 17, 2020 – The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Assistance (REEL) Program will transition from a pilot to a full program while awaiting long-term direction, per a Resolution released today by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The resolution noted that the program’s model “can fulfill a market need that is not fully addressed by other [available] financial products.”

Resolution E-5072 summarized the findings of the Evaluation, Measurement and Verification report of the REEL Program conducted by Opinion Dynamics on behalf of the CPUC. Released in January, the report found that REEL merits continuation based on key outcomes, including effectiveness and accessibility to lower-income Californians. “We conclude that REEL has revealed scalability potential, has been able to reduce hurdles in energy efficiency financing for underserved low- and middle-income and disadvantaged customers, and can save energy,” the CPUC wrote in the resolution.

The commission also noted that REEL may require adjustments over time in order to become more cost-effective and scalable. CAEATFA is authorized to make improvements to maintain and enhance the financing programs while the CPUC considers the long-term scope and budget of the programs. “Continuing the REEL program as a full-scale program will provide more years of data on what has worked, not worked, and might be modified to make improvements,” the CPUC wrote. “The state needs this guidance in order to formulate successful future energy financing programs.”

REEL is part of the California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF or “the Hub”), which is housed in the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). Learn more about REEL on the Hub’s customer-facing website, GoGreenFinancing.com.


CAEATFA and CHEEF Programs Address COVID-19

COVID maskApril 8, 2020 –Following Governor Newsom’s March 19 statewide shelter-in-place order, CAEATFA staff transitioned to remote operations along with program partners, including the Contractor Manager, the Master Servicer, the Marketing Implementer and participating lenders and finance companies. As a result, Hub programs were able to continue with no service interruptions or major changes, ensuring that Californians facing equipment emergencies during the COVID-19 crisis would have financing options.

The REEL Program has begun implementing virtual project inspections to remain compliant with public health guidelines. Program staff implemented several outreach efforts to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on stakeholders, including enrolled contractors and participating lenders. All REEL lenders have reported to CAEATFA staff that they are offering relief for their customers, including REEL borrowers, in the form of loan holidays and extensions.