Low-cost, Maryland PSC approved, program offers loans with 0% financing for 12 months, and reduced interest rates.
Maryland residents now have a new option for financing home energy improvement projects. The Maryland Clean Energy Center and the Montgomery County Green Bank have launched the Clean Energy Advantage (CEA) Loan Program, authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) with approved funding from EmPOWER Maryland.
This low-cost loan financing option enables residential property owners to reduce energy bill costs and improve home comfort, by offering loans via a participating lender, the Clean Energy Credit Union. Program consumers are able to leverage 0% financing for 12 months, and access reduced interest rates. The loans are designed to be combined with existing utility rebates. This allows residents to enjoy the energy efficiency benefits of larger or more comprehensive projects, with a reduced out-of-pocket cost.
“The Clean Energy Advantage Loan Program provides an option for households,” said Katherine Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “The program is intended to meet the needs identified by the Maryland Public Service Commission for an increase in consumer access to the EmPOWER Maryland resources that customers are already paying to support.”
The Clean Energy Advantage Loan program is open to residents within the following Maryland utility service territories: BGE, SMECO, Potomac Edison, Delmarva Power, Pepco, and Washington Gas. Residential energy consumers who do not receive an electric and/or gas bill from the listed utilities in Maryland are not eligible for this program. Customers must contact a participating contractor within their utility and decide on eligible high-efficiency equipment and measures prior to beginning the application process. All loan projects must go through the customer’s utility’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) / Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) or HVAC rebate program.
In addition to benefitting consumers, the program is intended to support local contractors by encouraging a greater completion rate for home improvement project needs identified during Quick Home Energy Checks (QHECs) and home energy audits. Projects can range from insulation upgrades to full HVAC system replacements, and contractors must assist applicants with the process to ensure that installed measures meet eligibility requirements.
“The Clean Energy Advantage program will bring greater access to resources for more Maryland families looking to undertake energy efficiency improvements for their homes,” said Tom Deyo, MCGB Chief Executive Officer. “The affordable financing offered by this program is paired with energy efficiency rebates and incentives offered by the utilities to provide 100% of the funding needed for energy savings projects. We hope to see many more families saving money and saving energy.”
In the effort to ensure equity in serving the market, the CEA Pilot program proposes to finance projects for consumers with scores as low as 640, which is well below the average score in Maryland and into what the market considers the “fair” credit range. Although lender approval is based on a variety of factors, the lower credit score threshold allows for greater program accessibility for consumers than some would encounter in traditional loan programs.
The CEA Loan Pilot Program is administered, in partnership, by the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the Montgomery County Green Bank and authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to fund the program. EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on consumers’ energy bills. EmPOWER programs can help reduce energy consumption and save money.
The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) was created in 2008 to encourage the transformation of the energy economy. MCEC works to implement financing solutions that catalyze the growth of business, create jobs, and make clean energy technologies, products and services affordable and accessible for Maryland consumers.
The Montgomery County Green Bank (MCGB) helps Montgomery County, Maryland achieve its climate goals by leveraging capital and innovative partnerships to make clean energy and climate-resilient solutions more accessible and affordable for all residents and businesses.