Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program

  • Financial Support for Renewable and More Efficient Energy

OVERVIEW

The Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program is a four-year partnership between Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and an anonymous donor. Between 2019-2022, OFN is providing up to a total of $5.25 million in grants to OFN members focused on renewable and energy efficiency financing.

TERMS

The 2020 Program will provide between 15 to 20 total grants—ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 per award—to provide lending capital and loan loss reserves to OFN members for renewable and energy efficiency financing. A total of up to $1,450,000 in grants will be made in 2020. 

The Award must be used for lending capital or for a loan loss reserve. The Award cannot be used for operating purposes. 

Awardees are required to sign grant documents associated with their Award. 

Awardees will be required to submit a narrative report related to the progress of the Awardees’ strategy and a financial report related to the use of funds due one year following receipt of an Award.

Awardees will contribute to and participate in efforts by OFN to promote Awardees’ innovative strategies and spark replication through articles, webinars, social media, etc.

ELIGIBILITY

  1. Charitable Purpose
    Applicant is a U.S. tax-exempt organization with a current 501(c)(3) determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service. If your organization does not have this tax status, it may be eligible if it is a CDFI certified by the U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund.

  2. OFN Membership
    Applicant is a member of the Opportunity Finance Network.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please click here for a PDF copy of the Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program Guidelines.

The application period is now closed.

QUESTIONS

OFN hosted a members-only informational webinar on May 14, 2020, and a recording of the webinar is available in the OFN member-only COVID-19 community on CDFI Connect.

If you have questions about the application process for the 2020 Renewable and Energy Efficiency Financing Grant Program, please email Seth Julyan or call 202.868.6920.

BECOME AN OFN MEMBER

Learn about eligibility and benefits, and submit an application here. Please email Anthony Puzzuoli with questions.

 

2020 Awardees

BlueHub Capital ($200,000 grant)   

Boston, MA

Bluehub Capital will use the grant to finance an electric vehicle (EV) pilot program using vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology to: (1) lower the costs and increase the reliability of a car for low-income households, (2) identify barriers to low-income household adoption of EVs, (3) recommend policy changes and business initiatives that enable low-income households to transition from gas to EVs.

 

Virginia Community Capital ($200,000 grant)

Richmond, VA

Virginia Community Capital will use the grant to grow and expand their Clean Energy Lending program by providing solar loans for direct ownership, to small businesses and for third party ownership using power purchase agreements (PPAs) for nonprofits.  Virginia Community Capital is also looking to expand this program geographically, and lend in contiguous states (North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC).

 

Capital for Change ($100,000 grant)

Wallingford, CT

Capital for Change will use the grant to expand their Low-Income Multifamily Energy (LIME) product. The grant will allow Capital for Change to originate $4 million in LIME loans throughout Connecticut.

 

Capital Good Fund ($100,000 grant)

Providence, RI

Capital Good Fund will use the grant to finance 100 loans for $1 million in the pilot year through their DoubleGreen loan program for energy-efficiency upgrades. Designed to serve the needs of moderate-to-middle income homeowners with less-than-perfect-credit, the loans serve to upgrade wall insulation, duct sealing, high-efficiency heating & cooling equipment to make your home more energy-efficient and safe. Currently serving Rhode Island, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, and Texas with hopes of expansion.

 

Cincinnati Development Fund ($100,000 grant)

Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati Development Fund will use the grant to create a loan loss reserve for their Affordable Energy Fund, targeting developer-borrowers who are creating affordable, multi-family housing in the high-poverty neighborhoods CDFIs serve. The Affordable Energy Fund provides low-cost mezzanine debt as incentive for developers to identify energy-efficiency solutions, proper implementation, while preventing the creation of a financial barrier for low-incomes through the added cost of energy-efficient systems.

 

City First Enterprises ($100,000 grant)

Washington, DC

City First Enterprise will use the grant to launch their Small Business Renewable and Energy Efficient Fund (REEF) in partnership with Montgomery County’s Green Bank. In the first phase, the organizations will provide a $650,000 loan fund of secured and unsecured debt to Montgomery County-based small businesses to accelerate adorable energy efficiency and clean energy.

 

Homewise Inc ($100,000 grant)

Santa Fe, NM

Homewise will use the grant to offer more affordable home improvement financing for low-income homeowners. For clients with incomes below 80% of the area median income, Homewise will offer no interest, no payment, deferred loans up to $10,000.

 

Rural Community Assistance Corporation ($100,000 grant)

West Sacramento, CA

Rural Community Assistance Corporation will use the grant to support their Biomass Utilization Fund (BUF), a pilot lending program designed to reduce wildfire risk by using low-value forest wood (biomass) to generate sustainable energy and employment for low-to-moderate-income (LMI) rural Californians.

 

Triple Bottom Line Foundation ($100,000 grant)

Lakewood, Colorado

Triple Bottom Line will use the grant to expand and create a loan loss reserve for their work in providing technical assistance and financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in multifamily affordable housing properties serving low-income residents.

 

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida ($75,000 grant)

Miami, FL

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida will use the grant to expand their operations to provide innovative solutions to communities facing an affordable housing crisis and residential as well as business displacement due to climate change, natural disasters, gentrification, and unexpected economic hardships, such as a pandemic.

 

New Jersey Community Capital ($75,000 grant)

New Brunswick, NJ

New Jersey Community Capital will use the grant to finance projects that upgrade and improve energy efficiency of housing units and other facilities and may lead to LEED certification. Through their Healthy Communities Fund, they provided the financial resources and development expertise to drive the construction of safe, affordable, stable, and environmentally sound housing opportunities in an effort to realize better health outcomes in distressed neighborhoods.

 

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region ($50,000 grant)

Albany, NY

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region will use the grant to allow affordable housing developers moving into the economically distressed neighborhoods of Arbor Hill and Sheridan Hollow to build-out green infrastructure. The funds will also enable nonprofits who serve residents in this area to make energy updates to their buildings; the cost savings this would accomplish would provide a welcome boost to their limited budgets. All funds would be combined with sustainability education for new and existing residents.

 

Impact Seven Inc ($50,000 grant)

Rice Lake, WI

Impact Seven inc will use the grant to capitalize subordinate loans for energy efficiency financing to include uses such as geothermal systems, solar technologies, energy efficiency measures for new construction, and energy conservation retrofitting including insulation, appliance, lighting upgrades, and more. By utilizing energy efficiency financing grant capital, Impact Seven will be able to offer more advantageous terms for borrowers than would otherwise be possible, including interest rates set at 50% below market and lower loan-to-value ratios.

 

National Housing Trust Community Development Fund ($50,000 grant)

Washington, DC

The National Housing Trust Community Development Fund will use the grant to support the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA), a collaborative that brings together state and local groups from across the country to help increase energy efficiency investment in multifamily housing.

 

Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation ($50,000 grant)

Sisseton, SD

Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation will use the grant to educate and provide lending for upgrading or purchasing new energy-efficient products to business loan customers. Providing education to customers on energy-efficient products that will enhance small businesses and lower operating costs.

 

2019 Awardees

Chicago Community Loan Fund – Chicago, IL ($50,000)

Chicago Community Loan Fund will use its award to complete the build-out of an anaerobic digester at The Plant. The Plant occupies a 95,000 sq. ft. of a former meatpacking plant located in Chicago’s disinvested Back of the Yards neighborhood.  The Plant currently houses twenty small businesses, including indoor and outdoor farms, kombucha and beer breweries, a bakery, a cheese distributor, a coffee roaster, and other emerging food producers and distributors. Approximately half of these businesses are minority- or woman-owned/co-owned, and staff has included hard-to-employ individuals (such as disabled veterans, ex-offenders, refugees, and housing-insecure individuals), making The Plant a strong hub for businesses and staff members who are typically disadvantaged.

 

Coastal Enterprises – Brunswick, ME ($100,000)

Coastal Enterprises will use its award to create the Maine Cooperative Solar Investment Fund. This fund will provide an affordable mechanism to offer solar energy and energy efficiency improvements to Maine’s resident-owned manufactured housing communities (ROCs) and cooperatively owned small businesses. The grant funds will be combined with an additional $200,000 investment to create an interest-rate write-down, allowing CEI to invest in the development of 4-6 solar arrays providing about 3 MW of capacity. The two-year initiative will focus on a combination of ROCs and cooperative businesses such as Rock City Coffee in Rockland, a worker-owned enterprise of over 30 LMI employees.

 

Craft3 – Astoria, OR ($100,000)

Craft3 will use its award to capitalize its Savings Within Reach (SWR) program. SWR provides highly-affordable EE loans up to $7,500 with low rates and no fees in partnership with Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO), an independent nonprofit delivering utility EE programs in Oregon and SW Washington.  The SWR Loan is critical to meeting the needs of LMI borrowers that do not qualify for weatherization grants available for very low-income people and who cannot access traditional products like Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) from banks.

 

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation – London, KY ($50,000)

Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation will use its award to make loans primarily to small businesses for energy efficiency improvements and retrofits so they can reduce operating costs to remain competitive.  KHIC will maximize fund leverage by combining energy projects with the USDA’s REAP loan and grant program to achieve a 3:1 leverage.  Only agricultural producers and rural small businesses are eligible to apply for REAP funds.  REAP is a competitive renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement reimbursement program that makes grants up to 25% and loan guarantees up to 75% of eligible costs.  KHIC will target OFN funds to the unguaranteed portion of the project. 

 

MACED – Berea, KY ($50,000)

MACED has numerous energy programs to promote energy efficiency in small businesses, homes, and nonprofits in Appalachian Kentucky.  MACED will use its award to expand its new Solar Financing Tool.  In order for the debt service to be low enough for the energy generated to pay for the loan, MACED offers a 20-year note, fixed at 4%. Kentucky prohibits solar leases and power purchase agreements, so this is the only financing vehicle available that makes solar cash neutral or even cash positive.

 

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund – Concord, NH ($50,000)

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund will use its award to make 0% loans help 25 and low-income families obtain new EnergyStar rated manufactured homes and help reduce their energy costs by 25% to 50%. The program has secured funding from another funder and the $3,000 loan would include $2,000 from the Energy Efficiency Grant Program and $1,000 would be matched with other donors. This $3,000 total per family ensures that the homes will be Energy Star rated.

 

Natural Capital Investment Fund – Charles Town, WV – ($100,000)

Natural Capital Investment Fund will use its award to continue its focus on triple bottom line lending.  Since 2011, NCIF has Since 2011 has deployed over $5 million to renewables and energy efficiency retrofits and supply chain companies. NCIF will leverage the grant with additional investment and finance clean energy projects in West Virginia, North Carolina, and the Appalachian regions of western Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

 

Northern Initiatives – Marquette, MI ($50,000)

Northern Initiatives will use its award to pilot a program in partnership with the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) to provide loan capital to small businesses ready to make energy efficiency improvements.  Northern Initiatives will provide loan capital to small businesses at a 5% and UPPCO will be used to buy down the interest rate to 0%,

making it a no‐cost loan for the customer. Northern Initiatives will offer financing for a variety of energy efficiency measures.  These measures may include, Smart Building retrofits (i.e. installation of automated controls and systems, including analytics for such things as lighting and HVAC), improved insulation, and LED lighting systems and equipment replacements.

 

Opportunities Credit Union – Winooski, VT ($50,000)

Opportunities Credit Union will use its award to create a loan program for energy-efficient home appliances with affordable monthly payments for low-income homeowners in Vermont.

 

Pathstone Enterprise Center – Rochester, NY ($100,000)

Pathstone will use its award to expand its activity in Puerto Rico by providing loans with longer terms and lower interest rates for solar and energy efficiency-related improvements to businesses tied to free technical assistance.  Pathstone’s presence on the Island has grown since Hurricane Maria and they currently have loans in 23 of the Island’s 75 municipios.

 

Solar and Energy Loan Fund – Fort Pierce, FL ($200,000)

The Solar and Energy Loan Fund provides affordable and accessible energy financing to low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners and will use its award to leverage an additional $2MM in investments.  SELF provides loans to LMI homeowners and businesses for solar, energy efficiency retrofits, and window/storm mitigation in Florida.