FAQs

Sure you have questions about the Clean Energy Fund. Below are just some of the ones we think would be on your mind. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, email or call Joe Harrison at 603.717.9123. He’ll tell you what you need to know.

 

Clean Energy Fund

 

Q: What is CDFA’s Clean Energy Fund?

A: The Clean Energy Fund is an umbrella program encompassing several different revolving loan funds and credit enhancements products administered by CDFA. We’ve put them all together in one energy initiative to create a one-stop-shopping service for applicants.

 

Q: How do I apply for the Clean Energy Fund?

A: There is a single application for to fill out covering everything within the Clean Energy Fund. It can be found under FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES and filled out online at our Grants Management System [link to: www.nhcdfagrants.org] .  If you don’t already have a log-in and password for GMS, go ahead and register for one and while work to quickly get you into the system.

 

Q: What kinds of materials will I need to submit?

A:

 

Q: Do I need to conduct an energy audit before applying? Does the Clean Energy Fund provide money for audits?

A:

 

Q: Why would I want to finance an energy project through a program like the Clean Energy Fund?

A:

 

Q: Do I determine which of the loan funds or financing options under Clean Energy Fund that might work for me?

A:

 

Q: What are the differences between the each of the Clean Energy Fund programs?

A:

 

Q: What are the sources of the individual programs?

A:

 

Q: Does the Clean Energy Fund provide both grants and loans?

A:

 

Q: What kinds of activities can I use Clean Energy Fund money to pay for? Are there any ineligible uses or activities that Clean Energy Fund money can’t be used to pay for?

A:

 

Q: What guidance can CDFA provide as I contemplate an energy project?

A:

 

Q: What kind of project outcomes will I be expected to report to CDFA?

A:

 

 

Go back to top of the page

 

BetterBuildings

 

Q: What is BetterBuildings?

A: BetterBuildings A revolving loan fund created by the US Department of Energy and administered in New Hampshire by the Office of Energy and Planning. The staff here at CDFA operates BetterBuildings on behalf of these organizations. The goal of BetterBuildings is to make businesses and nonprofits more comfortable and cost less to operate through energy improvement. This creates stronger organizations with better bottom lines.

 

Q: What are the terms on loans provided through BetterBuildings?

A:

 

 

Q: How do I apply for BetterBuildings?

A: There is a single application for to fill out covering everything within the Clean Energy Fund. It can be found under FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES and filled out online at our Grants Management System [link to: www.nhcdfagrants.org] .  If you don’t already have a log-in and password for GMS, go ahead and register for one and while work to quickly get you into the system.

 

Q: What kinds of materials will I need to submit?

A:

 

Q: Do I need to conduct an energy audit before applying? Does BetterBuildings provide money for audits?

A:

 

Q: What types of activities qualify for funding?

A: BetterBuildings is exclusively for businesses and nonprofits, to help reduce their energy use through greater efficiency.

 

Activities eligible for funding include:

  • TDB

Certain types of projects are NOT eligible:

  • TDB

 

Q: Is there a specific reason why CDFA may offer me financing through BetterBuildings rather than any of the other programs in the Clean Energy Fund?

A:

 

 

Q: What kind of project outcomes will I be expected to report to CDFA?

A:

 

 

Go back to top of the page

 

Enterprise Energy Fund (EEF)

 

Q: What is the Enterprise Energy Fund?

A: The Enterprise Energy Fund is a $6.6m million revolving loan fund. Its purpose is to help finance energy improvements in buildings owned by micro, small, medium and large commercial businesses and nonprofit organizations. The projects that receive loans are geographically distributed and represent a wide range of business sizes and types.

 

Q: Is this a loan or a grant program?

A: The Enterprise Energy Fund is a revolving loan fund. We will lend money to businesses and nonprofits for their energy projects. When they repay their loans, we will lend it again to other enterprises.

 

Q: How might I benefit from this program?

A: Participating in this program will result in reduced energy use and costs for your business, lower carbon emissions, and improve the comfort of the building.

 

Q: What is the source of funding for this program?

A: CDFA and its partners were awarded $3.5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), through the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, to capitalize the Enterprise Energy Fund. An additional $3.1 million was awarded in November 2010.

 

Q: I've already done an energy audit. Will I be reimbursed if my project is accepted for financing?

A: Sorry. We can’t reimburse you for audits or any other work conducted prior to our awarding you funding for your project.

 

Q: If I've already done an energy audit can I still apply for financing?

A: Yes, an energy audit is required to apply.

 

Q: How much should I expect to pay for an energy audit?

A: Audit costs vary greatly based on the type, use and square footage of building.

 

Q: Can you recommend an energy auditor or contractor?

A: We cannot recommend contractors. You can find firms that provide these services by (tk)

 

Q: What types of activities qualify for funding?

A: The Enterprise Energy Fund is exclusively for businesses and nonprofits, to help reduce their energy use through greater efficiency.

 

Activities eligible for funding include:

  • sealing drafts and leaks
  • insulation
  • equipment and appliance upgrades
  • lighting
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • solar hot water and other solar thermal installations
  • renewable energy systems: wood pellets, wind generation, photovoltaics, etc.

 

Certain types of projects are NOT eligible:

  • swimming pools
  • casinos
  • zoos and aquariums (although, those would be wicked cool, wouldn't they?)
  • vehicles
  • research and demonstration projects

 

If energy efficiency is part of a larger rehabilitation project, only that portion of the project directly related to the energy work is eligible for funding. For example, if an owner is replacing a roof and installing solar hot-water panels at the same time, the Enterprise Energy Fund can be used to finance the solar installation, the insulation in the new roof, and any costs associated with the extra weight of the solar panels and heavier snow loads, but not the rest of the roofing project.

Funds are available for those who have already made significant energy efficiency investments and who wish to apply for funding for state-of-the-art renewable energy systems.

 

Q: Is new construction covered?

A: New construction in itself is not covered under this program; however, the additional costs directly associated with the addition of renewable energy investments or improving the energy efficiency of the building can be financed under EEF.

 

Q: What size loans will you make?

A: Loan sizes will range from $50,000 to $500,000.

 

Q: What are the terms/rates of the loans?

A: EEF offers a variety of terms to both commercial and nonprofit enterprises.

 

For-profit businesses rates will be:

  • 3 years - 2.75%
  • 5 years - 3.25%
  • 7 years - 3.50%
  • 10 years - 4%

 

Nonprofits will be charged rates between 2% and 2.5% in 3, 5-, 7- and 10-year financing packages customized to meet their needs. Financing packages are structured so that the total anticipated savings in energy costs equals or exceeds the total loan repayment.

 

Please note: Program guidelines and loan rates and terms are subject to change. Financing commitments will be subject to underwriting criteria and availability of funds.

 

Q: Are there any match requirements for the financing?

A: We will give preference to projects with other sources that complement our funding.

 

Q: Will my finance costs be less than my savings?

A: That’s our goal, but every energy efficiency and renewable energy project is unique. CDFA will make every effort to work with applicants to create a financing package that is cash-flow positive. Pay-back periods will vary with energy prices.

 

Q: What is your selection criteria?

A: Awards will be based on numerous factors that will help us to achieve the objectives of the program. Those factors include:

 

  • The availability of funds
  • The financial soundness of your business
  • The age and current energy efficiency of your building
  • The geographic dispersion of awardees
  • The sizes and types of businesses funded under the program

 

Q: When and how do I apply and what is the schedule for this program?

A: A: There is a single application for to fill out covering everything within the Clean Energy Fund. It can be found under FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES and filled out online at our Grants Management System [link to: www.nhcdfagrants.org] .  If you don’t already have a log-in and password for GMS, go ahead and register for one and while work to quickly get you into the system.

 

Applications will be reviewed by CDFA on a first-come, first-served basis, and will provide basis information to evaluate the applicant's fit to the program. Requested information includes the applicants finances, information regarding the building targeted for the energy- efficiency investment, and historical energy use at that building. If you have already had an energy audit completed on the building, we will ask you to attach a copy of that to your submission.

 

If you have had an audit done and your project meets our financial and building energy needs criteria, we will ask you to complete a full loan application. The loan application will ask for more detailed information regarding your project and will require at least three competitive proposals that specifically address the scope and the cost of completing the project. We will also ask for a detailed list of the funding sources you will use to finance the project.

 

Please note: Program guidelines and loan rates and terms are subject to change. Financing commitments will be subject to underwriting criteria and availability of funds.

 

Additionally, CDFA will offer a series of informational workshops. If you have questions about the program or the workshops, please call Joe Harrison, Director of Clean Energy Finance, at (603) 717-9123 or email him at jharrison@nhcdfa.org.

 

Q: Who is eligible?

A: Any business or nonprofit operating in New Hampshire is eligible. Churches are eligible, buildings with over 4 units are eligible including large apartment buildings, but private homes are not. Home-based businesses are eligible for costs associated with the business use of the home but not the residential use. For example, EEF can finance that portion of a new furnace used to heat a craftsman's studio.

 

Q: Do I need to own my building to be eligible?

A: No, you do not need to own your building to be eligible; however, you will need to provide documentation of the property owners consent to conduct the project. Additionally, if you lease your space, the terms of the lease must be compatible with return on investment projected in your energy project and the financing terms.

 

CDFA anticipates serving nonprofit and for-profit entities that own or lease the buildings in which the energy efficiency work is to be performed. If the borrower is leasing the building, the borrower must provide documentation of the property owner’s express consent to the project. Additionally, the duration and terms of the lease must be compatible with the return on investment projected for the energy project and the financing terms.  For each loan, CDFA shall ensure that the borrower and/or owner has supplied sufficient collateral to back each loan such that in the case of a default the outstanding principal and interest will be repaid.

 

Q: How many estimates do you require for a project?

A: We need three quotes for any proposed construction work or equipment.

 

Q: What are the reporting requirements?

A: Projects that receive funding under the Enterprise Energy Fund can expect to report future energy use to help to demonstrate the impact the program has had on energy use. In addition, as these funds have been made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("ARRA"), you may be required to report on job creation and other factors as well.

 

Q: What are the costs to me/my business if I participate?

A: You will pay for your share of the audit, the principal and interest on the loan, and the normal costs associated with managing the project.

 

Q: Will my business information be made public if I participate in this program?

A: This program uses federal funds, so information relating to you project may be made public. We will also request that grantees participate in promoting the benefits of the Enterprise Energy Fund. That promotion may include articles and photos in newsletters, on websites and social media, and in traditional news media.

 

Otherwise, you should anticipate the following information about your enterprise will be publicly available:

  • The name of your enterprise
  • Location
  • Type of business
  • Project size
  • Award amount

Your proprietary and financial information, Social Security information, etc. will not be made publicly available. Data on the fund's impact on energy savings and jobs will be collected, but reported publicly only in aggregate.

 

Q: What is Davis-Bacon and how will it impact my project?

A: The Davis-Bacon Act is a federal law that requires that contractors pay prevailing wage rates to workers on construction projects that are funded with federal funds. Section 1606 of the Recovery Act specifies that laborers and mechanics employed by contractors and subcontractors on construction projects funded directly by or assisted in whole or in part under the Recovery Act, which includes this program, must be paid at least the wages rates prevailing in the locality in accordance with the DBA.

 

In order to comply with Davis-Bacon, your contractors will be required to provide certified payrolls for all workers performing work on projects funded with Enterprise Energy Fund money. The wages paid will be compared with the prevailing wage rate, and any underpayment will require restitution to the underpaid worker(s). A contractor's failure to comply with the Davis- Bacon requirements will result in a loss of funding for your project. Davis Bacon applies to laborers and mechanics employed at the work site. Auditors, inspectors, and other personnel not performing physical or manual work at the site of the work are not covered.

We strongly suggest that you inform contractors bidding on your energy project of the Davis-Bacon requirement prior to their submitting a bid. In this way your bids will be based on comparable cost estimates and it will minimize the possibility of surprises later on.

The prevailing Davis-Bacon wage rates can be found here.

 

Go back to top of the page

 

Energy Loan Enhancement Program

 

Q: What is the Energy Loan Enhancement Program?

A:

 

Q: How do I qualify to use the Energy Loan Enhancement Program with my conventional financing?

A:

 

Q: How does CDFA work with the lenders to get such favorable rates?

A:

 

Q: What’s the dollar range on these loans? What kind of loan rates can I get?

A:

 

Q: Can I go to any local lender I want?

A: Not really. You’ll have to use one of the local lenders participating in the program. For an up-to-date list of participating institutions, click here. [link to: 5.A]

 

Q: Can I select which of the participating lenders to use or will CDFA choose the bank or credit union I must use?

A.

 

Q: If you recommend I use the Energy Loan Enhancement Program, does that mean I’m pre-qualified for financing?

A: No. Each lender will use its own criteria to determine whether your organization qualifies for financing (just as they would if you applied for a loan the conventional way). CDFA will work these institutions to create the most attractive terms for participants, but we can’t guarantee you’ll be approved for a loan.

 

Go back to top of the page.

 

Municipal Energy Reduction Fund (MERF) 

 

Q: What is the Municipal Energy Reduction Fund?

A: The Municipal Energy Reduction Fund (MERF) is a $1.5 million revolving loan fund. Its purpose is to reduce energy costs by helping municipalities improve the energy efficiency of their municipal buildings, street lighting, water and sewer treatment facilities, and where appropriate, electrical distribution systems.

 

Q: What is the source of funding for this program?

A: CDFA was awarded $1.5 million from the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund, through the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, to capitalize the Municipal Energy Reduction Fund. The fund will help finance energy improvements to municipal facilities and activities.

 

Q: How might my town benefit from this program?

A: Participating in this program will result in reduced energy use and costs for your municipality, lower carbon emissions, and improve the comfort of buildings.

 

Q: What projects are eligible for funding through this program?

A: The program will be available to finance improvements to the overall energy efficiency performance of municipality's buildings, street lighting, water and sewer treatment facilities, and where appropriate, electrical distribution systems. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve energy and reduce energy costs so that the savings can then be passed onto the residents of the municipality. These activities could include, but are not limited to:

  • Improvements to the buildings envelope including air sealing and insulation in the walls, attics, roofs, and foundations;
  • Improvements to HVAC equipment inside conditioned space;
  • Installation of sealed combustion, high efficiency condensing boilers with AFUE>97% Hydronic Systems or other high efficiency systems; and
  • Installation of alternative energy sources.

Again the goal is lowering the overall energy costs associated carbon emissions.

 

Q: What size loans will you make?

A: Loan sizes will range from $5,000 - $400,000.

 

Q: What rates and terms are offered for this program?

A: We are offering the following rates and terms to municipalities:

  • 3 years - 2.50%
  • 5 years - 3.0%
  • 7 years - 3.50%
  • 10 years - 4.00%

We will consider loans from $5,000 - $400,000 to assist in financing energy improvements to municipal facilities in New Hampshire. There are no fees to apply for this loan. There may be fees associated with closing the loan, such as UCC and mortgage filings etc.

CDFA will encourage applicants to leverage other funding sources into a project, including those offered through utility rebate and traditional bank loan programs.

 

Q: How are terms and payments determined?

A: The term of the loan will depend on the energy savings and the useful life of the upgrade. If the expected life of a project is 20 years and the energy savings may recoup the cost in 6.5 years. We would structure the loan repayment for 7 years. Most terms will be between 3 and 10 years. We will make every effort to structure the payments so they are cash positive, meaning that the energy savings from the upgrade will cover the loan payment and produce savings for you.

 

Q: Is there any grant money available for an audit?

A: Unfortunately, CDFA does not have grant money available through this program for audits, but our team will be happy to work with you to find other resources if the audit is an issue for your community. For instance, most utility companies have programs for analyzing electrical consumption.

 

Q: What if our town/city has qualified staff (engineers, etc.) to establish energy baselines and what upgrades would produce energy savings for the municipality?

A: We will still need some sort of audit done to ensure we are targeting our dollars appropriately (i.e. Level 1 audit) The audit should identify energy usage/costs and projected usage/costs with the specific upgrades identified as well as identifying the current and reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emissions.

 

Q: How much energy reporting will need to be done on the part of the municipality?

A: The municipality will not have to do reporting per se, municipalities will need to authorize a 3rd party to have access to utility billing information, so they are able to establish an energy baseline and then collect energy usage following the upgrades.

 

Q: Will the loan need to be collateralized?

A: Depending on the loan size, CDFA will look to file either UCCs on the upgrades or a real estate mortgage on the building(s) being energy retrofitted.

 

Q: How does a municipality apply for funding?

A: All applicants are required to submit an application through CDFAs online grants management [link to:www.nhcdfagrants.org] system. There are no fees to apply for this loan. Prior to accessing the online system, you will need a User ID and Password.

 

Go back to top of the page.

 

CDFA Events
2017-03-02
The Community Development Advisory Committee will meet Thursday
2017-03-07
The Credit Committee will meet Tuesday
2017-03-14
The CDFA Board of Directors will meet Tuesday
2017-03-14
The Executive Committee will meet Tuesday
2017-04-04
The Credit Committee will meet Tuesday