RFP Seeks Lending Partner for S.F. Energy Program

The San Francisco Clean Energy Loan Program will loan money to San Francisco residents and businesses to install solar energy systems on their rooftops and make energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings, according to a recent press release. On Feb. 2, the city's Office of Public Finance issued a public Request for Proposals to solicit a private sector lender to partner with the city to implement this landmark energy loan program.

"The climate crisis has brought our country to a crossroads that requires a far different approach to how we produce and use energy," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Innovative public/private partnerships, exemplified by this loan program, can help us point the way toward a cleaner energy future."

San Francisco currently offers the largest local solar incentives in the U.S. for residents and businesses through the GoSolarSF program. This local incentive, when paired with the federal tax credit and the California Solar Initiative, cuts the cost of an average residential solar installation by approximately half. Since the inception of GoSolarSF in July of 2008, monthly solar applications have spiked in San Francisco by more than 300 percent.

The San Francisco Clean Energy Loan program will complement GoSolarSF by providing borrowing options for residents to cover the remaining cost of their solar installations and also will be available to help fund urban small-scale wind projects, as well as energy efficiency upgrades. Building on the success of GoSolarSF, the city is working to help residents make energy upgrades on their buildings, so that even more residents can green their homes and businesses in a financially responsible manner. The result will be lower utility bills for local consumers and the greening of San Francisco's renewable energy portfolio.

Loans will be attached to the building rather than the borrower. Residents will repay the loans over 20 years through a special tax on their property tax bills. By providing greater security for the lenders, the program in turn will allow them to make more loans available, to more people, on more competitive terms.

Feb. 17 is the deadline for a letter of intent to submit a proposal to the city; March 3 is the date set for the bidders' conference, and final proposals are due April 1.