See Lisa Piccinini’s guest blog article on Maryland Politics Watch, laying out the case for House Bill 1014 and Senate Bill 720 – the Clean Energy Loan Programs.
The bill calls for a program providing loans to residential property owners for the financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Basically, its aim is to help residents save money by providing means to obtain a loan for the upfront costs of increasing home energy efficiency. The bill also applies to commercial property owners.
The cost-effective upgrades or retrofits that these loans would provide for include things such as insulation, water heating, and appliance efficiency. Potential upgrades would be identified by an energy audit performed for every property prior to loan approval. The audit identifies energy-efficient and cost-effective projects for the property that would generate yearly energy cost savings. Through this program the loans will be repaid by the property owner via a surcharge on the owner’s property tax bill, over a period not to exceed 15 years. The loans could be provided by banks, non-profits, or through the Maryland Clean Energy Center. This innovative way to finance loans encourages home owners to consider becoming more energy efficient.
The bill is a perfect opportunity for the state to encourage jobs, economic spending, and show national leadership. Because each potential loan begins with an energy audit, the bill encourages energy auditing companies operating within the state. Once a loan has been approved and retrofitting begins, the installation requires manpower; again, a source for jobs. The state would show strong support of auditing and retrofitting companies, as well as of renewable energy businesses, by allowing loans for residents to obtain their services.
MACo has already supported the bills as well.