PennSEF, Pennsylvania’s Sustainable Energy Finance program
An Alternative path to Clean Energy Savings
Many institutions have energy-efficiency projects that they would like to implement. But they are often reluctant to tie up the institution’s capital in these projects. And even when capital is not an issue, they may feel they lack the expertise or resources in-house to properly vet and design such projects.
The PennSEF (Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Finance) program was designed specifically to support institutions grappling with these challenges. Administered by the Foundation for Renewable Energy & Environment (FREE), PennSEF combines sophisticated technical, legal and financial support with access to low-cost financing to facilitate colleges and universities in implementing clean energy and energy efficiency measures that are guaranteed to pay for themselves. FREE was engaged to make PennSEF available by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, which is interested in investing in certain forms of financing that may be utilized in the projects.
The PennSEF process is described on the program’s website, http://freefutures.org/pennsef/. PennSEF’s expertise, and its model documents, support project participants through…
1. the identification of desirable projects,
2. solicitation and selection of qualified contractors,
3. negotiation of fair contracts,
4. contract implementation and monitoring and
5. verification of installed conservation measures.
Well-designed and installed energy efficiency measures can save significant sums of money. PennSEF was established not only to promote projects delivering these savings but also to make the process of designing and implementing such measures as efficient as possible. Economies are provided by…
1. Substantially reducing the time and effort required of project participants through the pre-qualification of energy services companies,
2. The close support of project officials by PennSEF’s experts,
3. The use of common documents, and
4. Pooled, tax-exempt financing that reduces the cost of capital and the fixed transactional deal costs.
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