This commentary was originally posted on the EDF California Dream 2.0 Blog.
Low-Cost Financing for Energy Efficiency Upgrades
The California Public Utility Commission today released a proposal by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that, if adopted, would create the nation’s first statewide on-bill repayment (OBR) program for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to be financed entirely by third parties.
In a preview post last month that featured the program details, EDF applauded the CPUC for its vision in taking this first step forward. A well-designed OBR program presents the opportunity to take energy efficiency to scale—in the billions of dollars—on all types of buildings without using taxpayer or ratepayer funds.
OBR is an innovative, cost-effective approach that will lead to a robust marketplace for energy efficiency lending, save energy users money, put people to work and avoid greenhouse gas pollution. It could also lower financing costs for distributed solar projects.
EDF is building a coalition of environmental groups, financial institutions, contractors and project developers that support and want to participate in on-bill repayment programs. The feedback and interest has been very encouraging.
The CPUC is accepting initial comments on the proposal through January 25 and will be holding workshops February 8-10. A final decision expected in April. California’s OBR program could start in early 2013. We have every reason to believe that other forward-thinking states looking to fight climate change and grow their economies will follow California’s lead. That would be a welcome sign that this country is moving in the right direction and responding to voter concerns.