Frequently Asked Questions
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A for profit or nonprofit organization can qualify for the SBF program by meeting any one of three requirements:

  • 100 or fewer employees, or
  • Less than $15 million a year in annual revenue, or
  • Meeting the SBA definition of a small business
Measures qualifying using the pre-qualified ESM list method only need to meet any requirements indicated in the list under the measure name. Measures qualifying for an IOU custom incentive automatically qualify for the program. For measures qualifying by the professional certification method, the Certified Energy Manager or Professional Engineer who is certifying the measures must provide an estimate of energy savings. This is not a guarantee but a good-faith estimate of savings based on accepted industry practices.
No. While any measure which receives a rebate or incentive from an IOU, REN or CCA automatically qualifies as an Energy Saving Measure (ESM) for the SBF program, participation in utility programs is not required. If desired, OBF financing may be paired with SBF financing to finance components of projects that qualify for SBF, but not OBF.

Full program launch is scheduled for August, 2019. In August, the SBF program will feature more financing companies with more products, allow for all three measure qualification methods and a web-based interface to submit program data. The program will be marketed to small business owners and participating contractors will be listed on the GoGreen Financing website for small business owners to contact and initiate projects.

Several participating finance companies will have financing products available in April of 2019, at which time SBF will be available in a limited scope. At this time, Energy Savings Measures (ESMs) may only qualify through the pre-qualified ESM list method.

Unfortunately, no. Through SBF, companies provide financing for energy efficiency and demand response measures and some offer financing for nonenergy measures or distributed generation. electric vehicle (EV) charging stations do not qualify for the program.

No, this program is restricted to the financing of retrofits to save energy in existing buildings.
Distributed generation and storage such as solar panels and batteries may be financed, but finance companies will not receive a credit enhancement for that portion of their financing. As such, these installations may be financed at the discretion of the finance company.
Participating finance companies will usually pay contractors directly for their work and some offer pre-funding or progress payments for qualifying contractors. Please consult directly with the finance company to explore your options.
OBF is administered by the utility companies and the financing comes from ratepayer funds. SBF is administered by the State of California and the financing comes from private financing companies. Because financing through SBF is provided by private companies, customers will need to pay interest or financing charges in contrast to the 0% interest rate offered by OBF. However, the credit enhancement provided to finance companies through the program means that customers can expect more attractive rates and terms and broader approvals than they would find through private financing outside of the program. Additionally, because SBF is private financing, it is very flexible and can be used for projects that don’t qualify for OBF. SBF projects can range up to $5 million and have no payback period or bill neutrality requirements so measures like HVAC or windows can be financed. Almost any measure that saves energy will qualify through one of the program methods; measures are not limited to those that are part of utility programs. Additionally, some SBF finance companies will include financing for non-energy measures and some offer pre-funding for qualifying contractors. Customers can also choose from multiple financing products and receive fast approvals.

The SBF program offers a lot of flexibility. Depending on finance company approval, projects can be any size up to $5 million, and can include other measures (e.g. landscaping or remodeling) in addition to Energy Saving Measures (ESMs). Customers have access to multiple products including loans, leases, equipment finance agreements, service agreements and cash-flow positive options. Small businesses that lease or own their space can qualify. Finance companies can provide fast project approval. Some finance companies also provide pre-funding for qualifying projects and contractors.

A customer meeting the definition of a small business who receives service from at least one of California’s four investor-owned utilities (IOUs) - PG&E, SDG&E, SoCal Edison, SoCal Gas, or a Regional Energy Network (REN) or Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) - may apply for financing from a finance company participating in the program. Participating finance companies receive a credit enhancement for the financing they provide. The credit enhancement acts like insurance in the case that a customer defaults on their payment. In turn, the customer receives benefits such as better terms, a longer payback period, or broader approvals.

Visit the enroll page and sign up to take the self-paced online training. Once this is complete, fill out the application (available on the same page as the training link) and submit, along with proof of insurance, to CHEEF@treasurer.ca.gov. When you are enrolled in the SBF program, you may present financing through SBF as an option to your customers.

The REEL program may conduct field verifications on a random sample of projects that have not received an investor-owned utility or regional energy network (REN) energy efficiency rebate or incentive for each applicable eligible measure installed. The frequency of the verifications depends on how many projects the participating contractor has completed under the program and the type of eligible measures installed. For more details about field verifications, please refer to the Project Requirements section of the REEL Program Regulations+.

No. The REEL program only inspects projects that do not go through the investor-owned utility (IOU) or regional energy network (REN) rebate/incentive process because rebated projects will already be inspected by the investor-owned utilities.

An energy audit or preproject inspection is only required if you or the customer also are participating in an investor-owned utility rebate or incentive program that requires it.

Under certain circumstances, a project under the REEL program requires CAS/CAZ testing.

  • A project includes three or more eligible measures, the property contains one or more combustion measures and at least one of the eligible measures is:
    • Whole-building air sealing
    • Duct sealing and/or duct replacement
    • Attic insulation and air sealing
  • A CAS/CAZ test must be performed by a participating contractor who is:
    • Approved to participate in the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Program or Advanced Home Upgrade Program
    • Certified by BPI as a Building Analyst, Envelope Professional, Heating Professional, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Professional, or BPI GoldStar Contractor

Yes, if the project did not receive an investor-owned utility rebate or incentive, we may conduct field verifications at the property within 180 days of the loan being enrolled to verify that the eligible measures were installed according to program regulations.

No, you must use the REEL invoice as there are certain pieces of information that must be collected on each project. The REEL invoice is designed to be completed electronically and emailed to the lender for fast processing of the customer’s loan application. If you do not wish to fill it out electronically, you may print it and fill it out by hand, scan it and email it to the lender or to the customer to give to the lender. You can certainly continue to provide your customer with your company’s standard invoice.

Submit the following documents for each eligible loan.

Yes. REEL financing is available if the project meets the eligibility requirements of the program. Applying for a rebate or incentive from an investor-owned utility is optional, but may provide additional savings.

REEL is an energy efficiency program. However, some lenders may offer financing for solar projects separately from REEL, with different terms.

Yes! Up to 30% of the financed amount may fund other related home improvements such as flooring, cabinetry, water efficiency measures and upgrades provided by a different energy company (i.e., a municipality, public utility or co-op). These costs must be shown on the Itemized Invoice+.

Eligible improvements include: (1) Eligible Energy Efficiency Measures (EEEMs) as specified by the investor-owned utility that provides the property with gas and/or electric service and (2) other related home improvements such as fixtures, cabinets, remodeling, etc. Seventy percent of the claim-eligible amount of the financing must be toward EEEMs and other necessary alterations such as installation, patching, painting, permits and other legally required improvements. EEEMs must correspond with the fuel source that the investor-owned utility provides to the customer. For example, if your customer is a PG&E gas customer, only PG&E gas-related EEEMs are eligible to count toward the 70%. Upgrades provided by a different energy company (i.e., a municipality, public utility or co-op) only qualify for the program as part of the 30% allowed for other home improvements.

Under the REEL program, 70% of the financing cost must be comprised of energy efficiency measures and related costs for fuel provided by one of the following investor-owned utilities: PG&E, SCE, SoCalGas and SDG&E. Up to 30% of the claim-eligible financed amount can fund other related home improvements such as fixtures, cabinets and energy-efficient upgrades provided by a different energy company (i.e., a municipality, public utility or co-op). Sample projects that can be financed under the REEL program are listed under the Sample Project Packages section on the contractor resources page.

Yes, your customer can get financing if one of the investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric) provides natural gas to the property, and the project meets the eligibility requirements of the program. Seventy percent of projects need to be comprised of eligible measures from the list of the utility providing natural gas.

Rental or leased properties are eligible with the owner’s written consent to have the eligible improvements installed. Some lenders limit financing to owner-occupied properties.

Eligible properties are single-family homes (1-4 units) located in the service territory of a California investor-owned utility: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, SoCalGas or San Diego Gas & Electric.

Yes, if the eligible measure is allowed to be self-installed. The eligible measures list indicates if ameasure is eligible for self-installation under the Measure Specification column. The program conducts field verifications on 5% of all projects in the program completed by a self-installer.

Yes. Before enrolling a contractor in the program, all certifications, licenses and insurance are verified after a contractor submits their application. Additionally, we conduct project verifications for projects that did not get any investor-owned utility or REN rebates or incentives to ensure they were completed according to program regulations.

The REEL Program Compliance Training will assist contractors to

  • Understand the REEL program benefits and guidelines
  • Learn the characteristics of eligible projects
  • Properly document projects for lenders and GoGreen Financing
  • Know where to get help and additional training
  • Learn how to access marketing benefits available to participating contractors

On-demand training is available 24/7 for contractors to take at their own pace, while live sessions are held periodically throughout the year. Visit the Enroll page to learn more.

Visit the contractor resources page to apply and take the training.

A loan loss reserve fund is a form of credit enhancement, or a type of insurance, that helps lenders control for the risk that loans will not be repaid. Each time a lender submits a loan to the REEL program, funds are contributed equal to a percentage of the loan amount to a loan loss reserve account for that lender. If a borrower defaults on a loan, the lender may access funds in their loan loss reserve account to mitigate their losses. Because they have access to the loan loss reserve fund, REEL lenders can offer better rates and more attractive terms to borrowers and/or make financing available to borrowers with a wide range of credit scores.

Claim-eligible financing refers to the part of the loan for which the lender receives the loan loss reserve protection. At least 70% of the claim-eligible amount must fund eligible measures such as HVAC systems, appliances, windows, insulation and any other necessary alterations. Up to 30% of the eligible measures can be other related home improvements, like remodeling, water efficiency or measures that reduce electricity use—for customers who receive electricity from a municipality or co-op. If a lender provides financing for solar, or for other home improvement projects beyond the 30%, that portion of the loan is not claim-eligible financing; the lender will not receive any loan loss reserve funds for that portion.

Yes. If a borrower currently has a PACE loan and would like to do additional energy efficiency projects, they also can apply for a REEL loan, or vice versa. However, the lender is likely to look at the borrower’s total debt-to-income ratio when deciding on approval and both loans cannot finance the same project.

In general, lenders can preapprove a borrower for a loan before permits need to be pulled. Contact the lender to inquire about their specific approval and funding process.

Generally, yes. The loan amount can increase to accommodate the new project costs if the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio still qualifies for the new loan amount. The new loan amount must not exceed the maximum ($50,000) allowed in the REEL program, and the project must still meet program eligibility requirements. Loan terms and conditions will vary from lender to lender. Refer to the specific lender profiles on the contractor resources page and contact lenders for more details.

Qualified loans will be covered by the loan loss reserve for a maximum of 15 years.

Eligible loans can be made for up to $50,000 per residential unit. For borrowers who do not have a FICO score, the maximum loan amount is $35,000, providing they do not have any unexplained derogatory credit marks in their report.

The maximum interest rate for loans made under this program will not exceed the interest rate on new 10-year treasury bonds plus 750 basis points. For a list of current REEL approved lenders and interest rates, visit the contractor resources page and read the profiles.

There are currently four REEL approved lenders who offer products with no fees. Some lenders may require a small membership fee for the borrower ($5-$20) to join the Credit Union if they are not a member. Future approved lenders may have product offerings that differ. For more information, see the contractor resources page.

Disbursement of funds will vary from lender to lender. Please refer to the specific lender profile in the contractor resources section for more details. Some lenders can disburse funds within 24 hours of receiving completed documentation.

Loan approval time frame will vary from lender to lender. Please refer to the specific lender profile in the contractor resources.

The REEL program offers some benefits not found in any other loan products.

  • Ability to finance 100% of the project costs
  • No lien against the property
  • Access to lower rates specifically designed for REEL
  • Product choices with no loan fees, closing fees, processing or underwriting fees
  • Integrates with investor-owned utility rebates/incentives to give greater savings
  • Administered by the State of California
  • Developed in partnership with the investor-owned utilities Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric
  • Flexibility to allow 30% of the financed amount to fund other home improvements

The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) program is the first of the programs that the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) launched in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the investor-owned utilities.

Through the REEL program, lenders have access to a loan loss reserve to help mitigate their risk in making energy efficiency loans. This allows lenders to provide broader access to financing for residential energy efficiency projects for customers of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric. The program enables licensed contractors to close more projects with deeper energy savings by providing customers with financing options. REEL does not require licensed contractors or customers to participate in investor-owned utility efficiency rebates or incentive programs. Participating contractors have the option to combine financing with the investor-owned utility rebates and incentives to help customers save even more money.

The REEL program provides lenders with a credit enhancement, or a type of insurance, that helps control loan risk. If a borrower defaults, the lender may access the credit enhancement funds to mitigate losses. Because they have access to the credit enhancement, REEL lenders can offer more attractive terms to borrowers and/or make financing available to borrowers with a wide range of credit scores.

Your project can still receive financing under the REEL program if your project meets program guidelines and you receive natural gas service from one of the following investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company or Southern California Gas Company.

Since your electric service is provided by a different energy company (SMUD, LADWP, etc.), any electric measures can only comprise 30% of your loan amount. Gas measures must comprise at least 70% of your loan amount. Note that an HVAC system that includes an electric air conditioner along with a gas furnace can be counted as a gas measure.

An energy audit or pre-project inspection is required only if you or your contractor are also participating in an investor-owned utility rebate or incentive program that requires it.

Yes. If the project did not receive an investor-owned utility rebate or incentive, a program representative may visit the home within 180 days of the loan enrollment date to verify that the contractor complied with REEL program regulations.

Rental or leased properties are eligible with the owner’s written consent to have the eligible improvements installed. Some lenders limit financing to owner-occupied properties.

Eligible properties are single-family residences of 1 to 4 units. This includes single family homes, condos, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, manufactured and mobile homes. Manufactured and mobile homes are eligible if the home is anchored to a permanent, site-built foundation constructed of durable materials, like concrete, mortared masonry, or wood). Note that some lenders will finance up to four units, while others finance only a single residential unit.

Eligible properties must receive natural gas and/or electricity from any of the following investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison and SoCalGas.

You can finance any measure that is listed on the REEL Eligible Energy Efficiency Measures+ list, as long as it meets the minimum efficiency requirements listed. Following are some examples of eligible energy improvement projects.

  • HVAC: air conditioning units, furnaces, heat pumps, whole house fans, smart thermostats, duct sealing or replacement
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Appliances
  • Windows
  • Water heating
  • LED lighting
  • Pool pumps
  • Cool roof
  • Radiant barriers

A licensed contractor can help you identify specific energy improvement projects that qualify and are right for your home. View an online summary of REEL Project Requirements+.

Contractors must be REEL participating contractors; however, it’s easy for licensed contractors to become REEL participating contractors. REEL participating contractors take a 1-hour, online training and submit a simple application to get approved. If you have a contractor you would like to work with, but they are not currently a REEL participating contractor, ask them to visit the contractor resources page to enroll.

Check our list of licensed contractors. You are always encouraged to do your own research and due diligence when selecting a contractor. You can look up information on a contractor through the Contractors State License Board (CSLB)+. Websites that review contractors include Better Business Bureau (BBB)+, Yelp+ and Angie’s List+.

Yes. If you currently have a PACE loan and would like to do additional energy efficiency projects, you can also apply for REEL financing, or vice versa. However, the lender will look at your total debt-to-income ratio when making a decision. Also, both loans cannot finance the same project.

Generally, yes. The loan amount can increase to accommodate the new project costs if you still qualify for the new loan amount based on your credit profile. The new loan amount must not exceed the maximum ($50,000) allowed in the REEL program, and the project must still meet program eligibility requirements. Contact your lender if you foresee the need to increase your loan amount.

Most REEL approved lenders provide online loan applications so the preapproval time can vary from instantly to within 24 hours. Refer to the find financing page for more details.

Our current lenders are offering REEL financing with no origination or closing fees. Some lenders may have a small one-time membership fee ($5-$20) to join the credit union. Future lenders may have product offerings that differ.

Interest rates vary between lenders and are based on the borrower’s credit history. However, the maximum interest rate for loans under the REEL program will not exceed the interest rate on new 10-year treasury bonds+, plus 750 basis points (which is equal to 7.5%) For example, if the interest rate on the new 10-year treasury bond is 3%, the maximum interest rate under the REEL program could not exceed 10.5% (3% + 7.5%). Visit the lender chart page to see what current lenders are offering.

  • The maximum loan amount you can borrow will depend on your credit score, income and credit history. REEL loan maximums are described below, but contact a REEL approved lender to determine how much you can borrow. Eligible loans can be made for up to $50,000 per residential unit.
  • For borrowers who do not have a FICO score, the maximum loan amount is $35,000, provided they do not have any unexplained derogatory credit marks in their report

No, REEL is an energy efficiency program. However, some lenders may offer financing for solar projects separately from REEL, with different terms.

Yes, a portion of your loan can be used to fund nonenergy projects. If at least 70% of the financing cost is composed of eligible energy efficiency projects and related costs (such as building permits and any repairs that would typically be needed as a result of installing the energy efficiency project), the remaining 30% can be used to fund other related home improvements, such as installing landscaping, water-savings measures or even cabinetry.

The REEL program offers some benefits not found in similar loan products:

  • No liens or tax assessments against your home
  • No home equity needed
  • Ability to finance 100% of the project costs
  • Flexibility: up to 30% of loan proceeds can be used to fund nonenergy home improvements like water-efficient landscaping or painting
  • No loan fees, closing fees, processing or underwriting fees
  • Access to lower rates specifically designed for REEL
  • REEL was authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission and developed by the State of California in collaboration with the investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and SoCalGas

No. PG&E®, SDG&E®, SCE® and SoCalGas® are not lenders under any of the energy efficiency financing programs (Program) and do not have a role in reviewing or approving financing applications. If you and a lender enter into a financing arrangement for home energy improvements pursuant to a Program, that arrangement will be entirely between you and the lender. PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas shall not be liable for the lender’s acts or omissions.

The REEL program requires a borrower minimum credit score of 580. Lenders may, however, set higher minimum credit requirements. Please view the find financing page for requirements by lender. Borrowers without a FICO may be eligible for the program, at the lender’s discretion, provided borrowers have no unexplained derogatory credit reports.

Additionally, the REEL program requires a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 55%. Lenders will work with you to determine your debt-to-income ratio.

Any California resident who owns or rents a property of 1 to 4 units (i.e. single family, condo, townhouse, duplex, triplex, fourplex) that receives electric and/or gas service from any of the following investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E®) / San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E®) / Southern California Edison (SCE®) / Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®).

The energy efficiency financing programs (Programs) are funded by customers of PG&E®, SDG&E®, SCE®, and SoCalGas® and administered by the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). More specifically, the CPUC directed PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas to assist CAEATFA in developing, designing, building awareness of, and administering the Programs.

PG&E, SDG&E, SCE and SoCalGas are not lenders under any of the Programs and do not have a role in reviewing or approving financing applications. If you and a lender enter into a financing arrangement for home energy improvements pursuant to a Program, that arrangement will be entirely between you and the lender. PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas shall not be liable for the lender’s acts or omissions.

Additionally, PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas do not endorse, qualify, or guarantee the workmanship, installation, labor, cost, or materials of any energy efficiency contractor selected by you to perform work under a Program. PG&E, SDG&E, SCE, and SoCalGas make no warranty, whether express or implied, (including the warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose) of any goods or services you select from a contractor or other third party.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) program, was designed to help California homeowners and renters access attractive financing for energy efficiency projects. REEL was created by State agencies and the investor-owned utilities to help California reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals. To learn more about who is behind REEL and why it was created, visit our about the program page.