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Funding Sources for Energy-Efficiency Projects

By NOPEC on October 9, 2019

Energy efficiency projects are what’s best for the environment and what’s best for your utility bill. But the initial project cost can be something that businesses or even communities struggle with. There are two general routes of funding: loans and grants. Grants are the best option, and don’t have to be paid back with interest. However, grants aren’t always available, so it is best to be fully informed on the financing options available to fund your sustainability initiatives. 



If you are a member of a NOPEC community, you can apply for a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan.  NOPEC’s PACE loan program offers fixed interest rates as low as 2.5%, long term financing, and the ability to pass payments through to the tenants of a building, as well as many other benefits. PACE loan projects include solar-thermal water heating systems, wind energy projects, energy efficiency projects like HVAC upgrades, and new windows, doors, roofs, or lighting. Loans range from $100,000 to $500,000 and unlike other energy efficiency financing options, you can pick your own qualified and licensed contractor! To find out if you are in a NOPEC community, check out the NOPEC community map.


Not all commercial properties (private sector facilities, non-profit, office, industrial and apartment buildings with five or more units, and retail) need a $100,000 loan for their energy efficient initiatives, and that’s where NOPEC’s Savings Through Efficiency Projects (STEP) loan comes in handy. STEP loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000. This loan program provides a fixed interest rate of 3% for up to 10 years for qualifying energy efficiency and renewable projects in NOPEC member communities. Qualifying projects include HVAC, windows, roofing, doors, insulation and more. To find out if you qualify, visit the NOPEC STEP loan page.

The Energy Efficiency Program of Ohio

The Energy Efficiency Program of Ohio helps businesses, manufacturers, schools, non-profits, and even local government improve their energy efficiency. There are four phases to the process outlined in the energy efficiency page of the Ohio Development Services Agency website.

  • An energy audit to identify your energy use and the costs you face.
  • The development of an energy plan to reduce use.
  • A loan or small grant to finance energy efficiency projects.
  • Evaluation of the savings your building has accumulated.

There is no application for the first two steps in the process, and if your organization is interested in joining, contacting an audit contractor is your real first step. After they have outlined and helped you through the audit and energy plan, then you will apply for the energy loan fund.  

The energy loan fund provides low-interest loans to eligible applicants that range from $250,000 to $2.5 million. These energy efficiency projects, however, must reach specific requirements to be eligible for funding.

  • Projects must reduce energy use by 15%
  • Provide economic and environmental impact
  • Must play a strategic role in a long-term energy strategy

To apply for the Energy Loan, you must submit a pre-application. The pre-application must include an overview of the project that needs financing, projected energy cost and use savings, payback with incentives, loan amount requested as well as the total cost of the project, and description of the expenses for which the loan will be used.

If your pre-application is eligible for the loan requested, you will receive instructions from the Ohio Development Services Agency regarding how to access the loan application.

If your organization is not eligible for the Energy Efficiency Program of Ohio, you will need to find different resources for funding.


Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program

The Department of Energy provides grants through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program to states, communities, cities, territories, and Indian tribes for energy efficiency and conservation projects that create jobs. It is the largest national investment in energy efficient/renewable development at a community-level.

NOPEC Energized Community Grants

NOPEC member communities can apply for the NOPEC Energized Community (NEC) Grant. These funds are made available for energy efficient projects for government facilities, residents, or businesses. These projects are typically LED/solar-powered signage or traffic signals, windows, air-conditioning systems, or even generators. Grant allocation is based on the number and type of accounts enrolled in NOPEC's aggregation program for each NOPEC member community. For information regarding the NEC grant, click here.  


Tags: Energy Efficiency Financing, Loans and Grants, NOPEC, PACE
Categories: Energy Efficiency

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