Federal, State Government Provides Additional Incentives for Energy-Efficient Retrofits
April 26, 2010

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on April 21 that up to $28 million in funding is available to help states lower the cost and increase the availability of energy-efficient retrofits.

The funding opportunity, administered by DOE's State Energy Program, also will assist states in developing the necessary policy and program frameworks to stimulate investment in cost-effective, long-term energy efficiency deployments, especially in states that do not currently have aggressive energy savings goals in place.

This competitive funding opportunity is targeted to state energy offices (SEO), although DOE is encouraging those offices to partner with market participants, including manufacturers.

Energy-efficient retrofits have for several months been a bright spot for glass product suppliers and installers (CLICK HERE for related story) and now DOE is planning to make up to ten awards between $2 million to $5 million each for initiatives that significantly increase the number of commercial and residential building retrofits in a state or other defined market. States are encouraged to partner with other market participants to leverage resources and coordinate actions, with goals of enhancing the building retrofit market and developing innovative financing programs and strategies.

Applicants must demonstrate a comprehensive and sustainable approach to providing retrofits in a defined region or market. The State Energy Program is seeking projects that will overcome traditional barriers to the broader deployment of retrofits, such as consumer access to information and up-front costs of the investments. By 2013, selected projects are expected to achieve and sustain a goal of retrofitting 2 percent of the buildings in the defined market every year.

DOE expects to select and award cooperative agreements by September 30, 2010. Applications are due to by May 24, 2010. CLICK HERE for more information on the funding.

California is among those states promoting energy-efficient retrofits. DOE's announcement was issued the same that day Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 77 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) to establish the statewide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Reserve Program. The program will lower financing costs for businesses and residences in California to make energy improvements through retrofits, such as installing energy-efficient windows, on existing properties. This legislation is intended to not only help increase energy efficiency and lower energy costs for consumers, but also create more than 10,500 jobs, according to Senator Pavley.

SB 77 creates another financing option for commercial and residential property owners to make energy improvements using bonds and/or loans that can be repaid through assessments added to their property tax bill. The legislation establishes a state-financed reserve, through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, of up to $30 million from the Renewable Resources Trust Fund to implement the PACE Reserve Program.

CLICK HERE to see interviews with industry experts on how glass can improve energy efficiency.

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