New Program to Boost Energy Efficiency in Pennsylvania’s Municipal Buildings

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HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) recently unveiled a new financing program designed to help local governments enhance energy efficiency in municipally-owned buildings. The Municipal Opportunities for Retrofits and Energy Efficiency (MORE) Program opened for applications on June 3, 2024, offering grants and loans to eligible municipalities.

Jessica Shirley, Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and chair of PEDA’s board, emphasized the dual benefits of the program. “Reducing energy use both cuts local governments’ utility bills and helps fight climate change, making this program a win-win,” Shirley said. She encouraged municipal governments to leverage this opportunity to finance energy-focused projects that can lead to lower energy bills for communities.

Geoff Bristow, Acting Executive Director of PEDA, echoed these sentiments. “PEDA is excited to add new tools to help Pennsylvanians reduce energy costs and improve energy performance,” Bristow said. He described the MORE program as a creative use of public funds intended to serve as a catalyst for local governments aiming to upgrade their buildings’ energy efficiency.

PEDA administers the program on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in collaboration with the National Energy Improvement Fund (NEIF), an Allentown-based lender specializing in energy efficiency financing.

The MORE Program combines funds from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant and the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund, both sourced from the U.S. Department of Energy under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Approximately $1.8 million in grant funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until October 25, 2024. Eligible applicants can apply for grants up to $50,000. These grants can be used to identify and design energy efficiency projects and reduce the interest rates on loans.

The MORE Loan program offers financing for energy efficiency upgrades, building retrofits, and onsite renewable energy generation when paired with energy efficiency measures. Loans start at $5,000 and offer repayment terms up to 15 years. Applications for the loans will remain open as long as funds are available.

To qualify for a loan, applicants must submit a level two commercial energy audit and project design, which can be financed by a MORE Grant. This grant can also potentially reduce the loan’s interest rate to as low as 0%.

Local governments eligible for the program include counties, cities, boroughs, towns, townships, and municipal authorities that did not receive an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Pennsylvania’s MORE Program: Pioneering Sustainability and Economic Efficiency

The launch of the MORE Program represents a significant step in Pennsylvania’s efforts to promote sustainability and economic efficiency. By supporting local governments in reducing energy consumption, the program aims to trim utility costs and address broader environmental concerns.

This initiative aligns with national priorities outlined in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, providing a framework for other states to model. The MOST Program’s emphasis on energy efficiency is particularly timely as communities seek ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

For Pennsylvania, the implications are substantial. Lower energy bills mean local governments can allocate more resources to essential services. Moreover, reduced energy consumption contributes to environmental goals, helping the state move towards a more sustainable future.

The MORE Program aims to aid Pennsylvania in leveraging its resources to build a cleaner, more efficient future. As local governments take advantage of these grants and loans, the state anticipates significant progress in both economic and environmental arenas.

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