California Energy Efficiency Initiative “first to rely solely on private third-party financing”

Posted By Lowell F. on November 13th, 2012

In our way of thinking, making it easier for commercial property owners to upgrade their buildings’ energy efficiency is a goal we all should be rooting for. That’s why this article in the New York Times Green blog made our ears perk up. The bottom line is that California is making energy efficiency upgrades for buildings “a bit easier and cheaper come early next year, thanks to a new pilot program approved last week by the state’s Public Utilities Commission.” Here’s how it works:

Based on an “on-bill repayment” feature, the program would allow the property owner to avoid large upfront costs and instead pay for upgrades through regular installments on his utility bill. The idea is that the energy cost savings would cover or exceed the loan or the leasing repayment added to the bill each month…

The concept is not new. About a dozen states offer similar programs. California’s new twist is the source of financing and the obligation to repay the loan regardless of a change in ownership.

While programs in other states are financed through loans from the utility (using ratepayer money) or government funds and grants (using taxpayer money), California’s approach would be the first to rely solely on private third-party financing…

In sum, this is exactly the type of innovative program that will help the clean economy reach critical “scale” as rapidly as possible. We applaud California for taking the lead in this area.

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