Over $1M in CEA Loan Program approved financing for Maryland home energy improvements

Low-cost, Maryland PSC approved, program offers homeowners loans with 0% financing for 12 months, and reduced interest rates.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. ­For Maryland homeowners suspecting they are paying too much for cooling or heating needs, or those who anticipate needing to replace those systems, the Clean Energy Advantage (CEA) Loan Program provides a convenient and affordable option for financing home energy improvement projects.

“Working with participating contractors through the CEA Loan Program, customers no longer have to hesitate about making improvements to capture savings and make their home more comfortable, “said Katherine Magruder, Executive Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center. “Current technology is remarkably efficient, but the average homeowner has limited cash or available credit to invest in these systems.”

This pilot program has now approved more than $1.0 million in financing for homeowners looking to improve their home energy efficiency, and funding is still available – but only until December 31, 2023.

The program offers loans with 0% interest for 12 months, for the first year, followed by a fixed low interest rate with three, five or 10-year terms. When combined with EmPOWER rebates from Maryland utilities, it’s never been easier or more affordable to ensure remaining summer air conditioning bills are as low as possible, and the savings continue when temperatures cool and heating expenses rise. Residents can enjoy the energy efficiency benefits of larger or more comprehensive projects, with a reduced out-of-pocket cost.

“CEA, along with various other state and federal incentives, made it possible for geothermal to work for our customer’s budget,” said Patrick Aaron, Vice President of Sales & Business Development at Total Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning. “I think it’s very special that a geothermal system, the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient heating and cooling option, is what pushed the program over the million-dollar mark.”

The CEA 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 Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) / Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP) or HVAC rebate program sponsored by their particular utility.

“We are highly encouraged by the increased accessibility to energy efficiency resources that the CEA Loan Program has provided Maryland families,” said Stephen Morel, Montgomery County Green Bank Chief Executive Officer. “The financing offered by this program, paired with energy efficiency rebates and incentives, fits wonderfully with our economic and sustainability objectives. We look forward to seeing many more families save money and energy.”

In addition to benefitting consumers, CEA supports 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. To date, the program has resulted in 3,527 job hours, resulting in $178,233 projected annual energy savings.

“The CEA Program has been invaluable in helping us transform energy-saving aspirations into reality, allowing us to empower our customers to make impactful energy-efficient upgrades. Through this program, we’ve been able to offer tailored financing options that enable our clients to get the comfortable home which they have always desired,” said Joshua Friddle, President at Terra Insulation. “We are dedicated to providing our customers with innovative solutions that not only enhance their comfort but also contribute to a sustainable future.”

In the effort to ensure equity in serving the market, the CEA program extends financing to consumers with scores as low as 640, which is well below the average score in Maryland. Although approval from the participating program lender is based on a variety of factors, the lower credit score threshold allows for greater program accessibility for consumers than traditional loan programs.

The CEA program is authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission and administered, in partnership, by the Maryland Clean Energy Center and the Montgomery County Green Bank, with funding from EmPOWER Maryland. EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on consumers’ energy bills. EmPOWER programs can help reduce energy consumption and save money.

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The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) is a corporate instrumentality of the state, created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2008, with a statute-directed mission to advance clean energy and energy efficiency products, services, and technologies as part of a specific economic development strategy. MCEC serves as a statewide green bank with a mission to transform the energy economy in Maryland by increasing clean energy jobs, driving commercialization of technological innovations, and enabling consumer adoption of clean energy products and services. MCEC facilitates access to capital through leveraged or direct investment and operates financing programs targeted to serve various consumer audiences and underserved communities. The Center provides specialized procurement and technical support in order to facilitate and expedite project implementation.

The Montgomery County Green Bank (MCGB) is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping businesses and residents affordably implement energy efficiency and clean energy solutions. MCGB supports Montgomery County, MD by driving investment into energy efficiency and clean energy through lending and investment partners in the region. These efforts include working with homeowners, renters, and commercial entities of all varieties.