Welcome to the California Energy Commission

State Energy Program (SEP)

Amount Available: $3.1 billion, nationally
California Energy Commission Allocated: $226 million

Bar graph of SEP dollars
Stimulus funds fully allocated

California has received $226 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) funds for the State Energy Program (SEP). California's SEP is focused on increasing energy efficiency to reduce energy costs and consumption, cut reliance on imported energy, and shrink energy impacts on the environment.

The California Energy Commission is administering the state's SEP and has currently allocated funds in these areas:

Energy Efficiency Program ($110 million)

To promote economic vitality and build a clean energy workforce, the Energy Commission is providing up to $110 million in State Energy Program (SEP) funds for energy programs focused on existing residential and commercial building energy efficiency (and water efficiency) retrofits. Onsite solar electric generation may be eligible if installed in conjunction with energy efficiency measures. Local jurisdictions, non-profits or private organizations can create partnerships and apply for program funding under a competitive solicitation process for three different areas: the California Comprehensive Residential Building Retrofit Program, the Municipal and Commercial Building Targeted Measure Retrofit Program, and the Municipal Financing Program.

California Comprehensive Residential Building Retrofit Program
This program will create jobs, train a sustainable energy-industry workforce and stimulate the economy by making energy improvements to existing residential buildings.

Re-trained construction workers, contractors, and youth entering the job market will be deployed to improve the energy efficiency and comfort in California's existing housing. For single family homes, low-rise multi-family buildings and high-rise multi-family buildings, the improvements will vary from simple efforts like changing out light bulbs to deeper, comprehensive whole house retrofits employing home energy raters and building performance contractors.

The program will work with regional groups of local governments, utilities, community colleges, national and state energy and affordable housing programs, and private and public energy and building contracting experts. It will leverage existing affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization programs to increase energy efficiency for under-served, economically disadvantaged people living in some of the areas hardest hit by the economic downturn.

Municipal and Commercial Building Targeted Measure Retrofit Program
This program aims to spread the benefits of readily available, low risk, high-return efficiency technology in municipal and commercial buildings throughout the state.

By performing retrofits on a wide scale, the Energy Commission will show building owners, operators and occupants that energy efficiency can provide not only cost savings but other valuable non-energy benefits. Improved building comfort and reduced maintenance costs will help convince customers to accept and demand new energy efficient innovations, helping to transform the market.

This program builds on the success of the Energy Commission's PIER program that recently demonstrated occupancy-controlled bi-level lighting fixtures for parking lots, parking garages, and exterior walkways, and improved controls for commercial kitchen ventilation and HVAC systems, technologies that used 50-70 percent less energy than the models they replaced. The program, however, is applicable to a wide range of nonresidential buildings and the energy consuming processes within them.

The Energy Commission will select the program proposals that employ the best practice concepts for specific applications. Applicants must be able to install their products broadly across the state to raise consumer awareness and contribute to California's continued leadership in energy efficiency.

Training workers to perform onsite assessments of potential energy savings and to install equipment is a key aspect of this program. Partnerships with community colleges and other organizations to develop workforces in economically depressed areas of the state are also encouraged.

Municipal Financing Program
This program will help public agencies -- cities, counties, or groups of cities and counties -- create financing programs for energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Under the program (also known as an AB 811-style program), building owners repay the financing through property tax assessments that remain with the property until repaid, even if the property is sold. This decreases or eliminates the upfront costs property owners normally must pay to install energy improvements.

The Energy Commission will provide public agencies with funding for program start-up and ongoing costs, interim financing, interest rate buy-down, and property owner rebates. In turn the public agencies will be required to provide financing to enable the California Comprehensive Residential Building Retrofit and Municipal and Commercial Building Targeted Measure Retrofit Programs, as well as for other measures proposed by the agency.

On July 28, 2010, the California Energy Commission canceled the $30 million Municipal Financing solicitation. The Commission action, which responded to roadblocks created by recent actions of the Federal Housing Financing Authority (FHFA), ended awards to the five local governments and jurisdictions of this solicitation that were using Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing as the cornerstone of their county and statewide energy investment programs.

The FHFA had originally stated that lenders should treat PACE assessments as any tax or assessment that may take priority over Fannie Mae's lien. On July 6, 2010, the FHFA reversed their earlier position and disallowing local governments to issue priority lien tax assessments.

The Energy Commission is currently looking at changes to the SEP Guidelines that expand the financial options available to local governments to achieve residential energy efficiency retrofits. Given the strict deadlines for expanding Recovery Act funds, the Energy Commission is acting quickly to encumber the federal stimulus funds under the Municipal Financing Program in a way that supports and allows additional financing options, including PACE, ensuring that the benefits of this program are protected.

Davis-Bacon Act Tool Kit
Posted December 28, 2010. (PDF file, 188 pgs, 5.34 megabytes)

California SEP Energy Efficiency Program Guidelines

cover of report
State Energy Program Guidelines - Fourth Edition
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -
ADOPTED: September 29, 2010.
Publication # CEC-150-2009-004-CMF-REV3.
(PDF file, 62 pages, 570 kb)


Information on Complying with Single Audit Act

If you are a public entity expecting to receive and use any federal funds, you must comply with the Single Audit Act and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133.

How to Comply with the Single Audit Act (PDF file)

State Controller's Office, Division of Audits
Local Government Compliance List

Download State Controller's Office (SCO) Compliance Status Report, updated 11/16/09. (PDF file, 22 pages, 44 kb)

The above report categorizes local government entities into the following:

  • EXEMPT: Entities listed on this report are exempt from having to submit a Single Audit Reporting Package.
  • NO REVIEW: Entities listed on this report have submitted a complete Single Audit Reporting Package; however the SCO has determined that no review of the report is warranted because no federal funds passed through a state agency.
  • ACCEPTED: Entities listed on this report have submitted a complete Single Audit Reporting that has been reviewed and certified for compliance. These entities have received a Single Audit Certification Letter and distribution CDs containing report copies and certification letters have been distributed to all pass through state agencies.

Clean Energy Business Finance Program ($30.6 million)

The $30.6 million Clean Energy Business Finance Program (CEBFP) is part of the Clean Energy Manufacturing Program, a subset of the State Energy Program.

The CEBFP will provide low-interest loans and/or grants to eligible private sector businesses that:

  1. Use biomass material to produce biomethane gas, or
  2. Manufacture and/or assembly energy efficient or renewable energy products, systems, or technologies that are commercially available and "shovel ready."

Draft CEBFP Program Guidelines were released at a workshop in December 2009. They were then incorporated into a revision of the State Energy Program Guidelines aopted by the Energy Commission on February 10, 2010.

State Energy Program Guidelines - Fourth Edition
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -
ADOPTED: September 29, 2010.
Publication # CEC-150-2009-004-CMF-REV3.
(PDF file, 62 pages, 570 kb)

More about the CEBFP and the Clean Energy Manufacturing Program.

link to page about careers at the energy commission

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