New PA financing program to help municipal governments cut “local governments’ utility bills and helps fight climate change”

11 June 2024- The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) has launched a new financing program designed to help local governments identify and develop energy efficiency and energy system upgrades for municipally-owned buildings. The Municipal Opportunities for Retrofits and Energy Efficiency (MORE) Program offers both grants and loans to eligible Pennsylvania municipalities and municipal authorities, and applications opened on June 3, 2024.

“Reducing energy use both cuts local governments’ utility bills and helps fight climate change, making this program a win-win,” said Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley, who serves as the chair of PEDA’s board of directors. “The MORE Program can result in reduced energy bills for communities, and I encourage municipal governments to take advantage of this special grant and loan to finance their energy-focused projects.”

“PEDA is excited to add new tools to help Pennsylvanians reduce energy costs and improve energy performance,” said PEDA Acting Executive Director Geoff Bristow. “The MORE program is a creative use of public funds that we hope will serve as a catalyst for local governments seeking to upgrade building energy performance.”   

PEDA is operating the program on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). PEDA has teamed up with the National Energy Improvement Fund, LLC (NEIF) to design and administer the MORE Program. NEIF is an Allentown-based licensed Certified Benefit Corporation lender and national expert in energy efficiency financing.

The MORE Program was built by blending Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant funds with the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund. Both were formula funds from the Department of Energy under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Approximately $1.8 million in grant funds will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on June 3, 2024. Eligible applicants can apply for a MORE Grant of up to $50,000 through October 25, 2024. Grant funds may be used by local governments to identify and design energy efficiency projects, and to buy down the interest rate of a MORE Loan. MORE Program participants are strongly encouraged to apply for the MORE Grant first, as it is intended to reduce the hurdles of securing financing for energy efficiency projects.

The MORE Loan is a financing program to help local Pennsylvania governments pay for energy efficiency upgrades, building retrofits, and onsite renewable energy generation (when paired with energy efficiency). As a revolving loan program, the MORE Loan application period opened on June 3, 2024, and will remain open as long as funds are available. The minimum loan available is $5,000, and the program offers repayment terms of up to 15 years.

Loan applicants must submit a level two commercial energy audit and project design, both of which can be paid for by a MORE Grant. A MORE Grant also has the potential to buy down a MORE Loan’s interest rate to as low as 0%. Information on how to apply for the MORE Loan can be found on NEIF’s website: https://www.neifund.org/moreloan/.

Local governments that did not receive an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy, including counties, cities, boroughs, towns, townships, and municipal authorities, are eligible to apply for both the MORE Grant and Loan.