Information Sharing for Residential Clean Energy Finance Programs
Information sharing is key to assisting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in meeting its mandate to effectively report the return on investment of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program and State Energy Program (SEP) funds in terms of jobs created and energy saved to the Administration and Congress.
To ensure fairness, consistency with government policies and requirements, and accurate money and project management, EECBG and SEP programs require extensive two-way communications. In one direction, federal, state, and local governments must make every effort to provide clear and timely guidance on the distribution and eventual use of funds associated with those programs. And in the other direction, clear reporting by all components of the individual energy efficiency/renewable energy programs ensures the following: proper oversight of disbursed funds, compliance with laws, and timely adjustments and revisions of government guidance—closing the loop—to allow for and promote flexibility and creativity in individual program designs.
Clear two-way communication channels allow grantees to continually refine their efforts funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, while adhering to the national objectives of providing maximum leverage of those funds, saving energy, getting the banks lending again, and getting Americans back to work.
Guidance documents from the implementing agencies set the rules for distribution and use of ARRA, SEP, and EECBG funds. Title V, Subtitle E of the Energy Independence and Security Act, as amended, authorizes DOE to administer the EECBG Program. All grant awards made under that program shall comply with applicable law, including the Recovery Act and other procedures applicable to the program. Links to up-to-date guidance documents can be found on the DOE Recovery Act website or the DOE Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program website.
Community Outreach and Marketing
Community outreach and marketing is a critical information component and promotes rapid uptake of the loans, which are the key driving force behind all the clean energy programs discussed in this Finance Guide. Responsibility for marketing and outreach will be assigned in program agreements delineating the roles of the various staff and partners in each program. See a DOE Template Loan Program Agreement.
Program Partner Information Sharing
Information sharing among program partners is crucial to ensuring continued improvement of the clean energy program in terms of better marketing of the loans and loan program as well as modifications to the program where necessary. For example, in some cases funds in the escrow account are available both for transferring into the loan loss reserve fund account when loans are lent and for reprogramming (if lending targets are not met) to interest rate buy downs to help increase market demand for the lending program. Effective communication between the financial institution and the grantee that controls the funds will help determine whether and to what extent funds should be reprogrammed.
Quarterly reporting includes the information that a grantee should ask a financial institution partner to provide as part of a residential energy efficiency loan program.