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Chicago, Illinois Central Loop Tax Increment Financing

2020

Chicago, Illinois has established more than 120 Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, and has leveraged its public investment to attract $6 billion in private capital investments in these districts. Revenue from Chicago’s Central Loop TIF has been used to fund the city’s Green Roof Improvement Fund, which incentivizes and provides partial reimbursement to commercial buildings that install green roofs to manage stormwater. Chicago’s TIFs currently fund a small array of adaptive and climate-related projects, such as green alleys and wastewater infrastructure, but all TIF-funded projects must meet sustainability standards. In February 2020, Chicago’s Mayor announced a series of reforms to promote transparency in the TIF system, including the creation of a supervisory TIF Investment Committee whose explicit goal is to center equity in its decision making.

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My Strong Home - Home Risk Mitigation Loans

2017

MyStrongHome is a public-benefit corporation which aims to help homes and communities in coastal areas in South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to be better protected from extreme weather by financing and managing home upgrades, especially new storm-ready roofs, to meet resilient building standards. By providing an “end-to-end” solution, from assessment and financing through construction and insurance, MyStrongHome makes home risk mitigation, and climate change resilience, more accessible to homeowners.

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Connecticut Green Bank Solar For All Program

2015

In 2015, Connecticut recognized that its standard solar incentive program for homeowners, the Residential Solar Incentive Program (RSIP), had successfully promoted residential solar development, but was serving very few low-income homeowners. To increase low and middle income (LMI) homeowner access to credit for solar, the Connecticut Green Bank (which was established by the Connecticut General Assembly), developed a model for providing these homeowners with cost-effective residential solar power and energy efficiency, and applied it to a partnership with solar provider PosiGen Solar (PosiGen). The Green Bank's Solar For All program provides financial support to PosiGen, which uses this financing to build solar panels on LMI homes. PosiGen retains ownership of the panels, benefits from the solar rebates provided under the RSIP, and leases the solar panels to homeowners. Homeowners benefit financially by avoiding large upfront payments for their solar systems, and by reducing electricity costs. Additionally, all PosiGen customers receive efficiency upgrades. The average PosiGen customer in Connecticut receives a net annual financial benefit of $450. For the first six years of solar panel operation, PosiGen owns and benefits from the Renewable Energy Credits – the excess power created by the panels. Ownership of these credits is then transferred to the Bank, which makes back some of the money it spends on the RSIP. 

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New Jersey Clean Energy Program Efficiency Retrofitting

2010

New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program (NJCEP) is a financial incentive system created by the state legislature to encourage energy efficiency retrofitting and promote the use of renewable energy. CMC Energy is a private firm specializing in improving energy efficiency, and became a contracting partner of NJCEP’s Direct Install program. Through this program, CMC works directly with a participating business or public entity to assess areas for improved energy efficiency, and implement modern technical solutions to reduce energy costs. NJCEP pays for 70% of the total retrofitting costs directly to the entity, reducing the total project time to an average of 90 days from the initial appointment. High Bridge Elementary School, in High Bridge, NJ, participated in the Direct Install program and is realizing an annual energy savings of approximately $22,000. The total cost of the installation was $135,109, of which $94,576 was provided directly to the school. The school thus contributed only $40,532, estimated to be paid off in 1.8 years given the school’s energy savings. Future energy savings will be used for further improvements, such as a new roof. In 2019, to promote equity, NJCEP increased its funding to 80% of the retrofitting costs for facilities: within an Urban Enterprise Zone, within an Opportunity Zone, owned by local governments, containing K-12 public schools, or designated as affordable housing. Under the newer scheme, the High Bridge Elementary pay period would be shortened to 1.23 years, freeing up reduced energy savings faster.

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Duke Energy Progress Partners with RETI for Community Solar

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) worked with the nonprofit, Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI), to increase access to renewable energy programs for lower-income residents. This program provides an example of how utilities can use equity considerations to inform the deployment of renewable energy programs and resources. RETI works to eliminate high energy costs and make renewable energy solutions more accessible through educational programs, community outreach, research, advocacy, and partnerships. RETI promotes income-based applications and brings awareness to this energy saving program through engaging with communities at local community events and churches. DEP and RETI also launched The Shared Solar program for its residential and non-residential customers to be able to share in the economic benefits from a single solar facility. The cost savings from this community solar program are allocated to low-income customers in the company’s territory.

 

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California Public Utilities Commission Clean Energy Research Projects for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

January 2018

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) allocates its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities, which is an example of utility commissions participating in equitable grid investment. EPIC funds come from rates charged to electricity customers of the state utilities and supports investments in clean energy technologies that benefit ratepayers of investor owned utilities. AB 523 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to expend at least 25 percent of its EPIC funds for Technology Demonstration and Deployment funding (TD&D) at sites located in, and benefiting, “disadvantaged communities,” and adds an additional requirement that the CEC expend at least 10 percent of its EPIC funds for TD&D at sites located in, and benefiting, low-income communities located in the state. The CPUC approved the allocation of $60 million of its EPIC funding to projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities that are also specifically prioritized for the investment of proceeds from CA’s cap-and-trade program. These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life, and economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities, which are defined by AB 523 as those most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects, considering socioeconomic characteristics and underlying health status.

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Partners for Places Funding Program

2012

The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network (USDN) co-founded the Partners for Places program (P4P). P4P is a matching grant program that supports initiatives with local government sustainability leaders and local funders to integrate climate preparedness, sustainability, and carbon reduction in U. S. and Canada communities.   The fund grants up to $1,000,000 annually; and grants range between $25,000 and $150,000. A 1:1 match is required from local place-based foundations.

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California AB 693: Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program & the Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program (MASH)

2015

California’s SOMAH and MASH programs provide an example of how financial incentives can be used to support installation of solar energy photovoltaic (PV) systems on multifamily affordable housing properties. Assembly Bill 693 provides financial incentives for the installation of PV systems, prescribes criteria for participation in the incentive program, sets targets for installation of solar PV systems, identifies various required elements for the Program, and gives direction to the California Public Utilities Commission on the administration of the Program. The SOMAH program's goal is to encourage the installation of 300 megawatts (MW) of solar power to benefit affordable housing units by 2030. This program is funded through GHG allowance auction proceeds and is administered by nonprofits and electric utilities. Eligible building owners and tenants can receive solar credits through a virtual net energy metering system. The program provides direct economic benefits by allowing low-income renters to receive energy produced on the roof of their housing unit, which lowers monthly utility costs and helps “disadvantaged communities” reap the benefits of the growing California solar industry. 

 

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Under 1 Roof Initiative, San Antonio, Texas

2016

The Under 1 Roof Initiative is an example of local funding programs that create incentives for residents to retrofit vulnerable homes to prepare for climate change impacts like urban heat. In 2016, San Antonio launched the Under 1 Roof Initiative to replace old roofs with free, energy-efficient cool roofs. Under 1 Roof distributes funds through the city’s Neighborhood Housing Service (NHS) to replace the roofs of qualifying applicants, including the elderly, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and low-income residents. Under a partnership between the municipal utility and the city, households that do not qualify for direct funding from the NHS remain eligible to receive rebates for self-installed cool roofs. In 2018, San Antonio’s city council approved a $2.25 million budget to expand the Under 1 Roof Initiative to five other districts in the city.

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Resilient Affordable Housing Grant Program - Boston, Massachusetts

2019

Boston’s Resilient Affordable Housing Grant Program illustrates how cities can use Section 4 Capacity Building Program grants to fund resilience investments in affordable housing. Despite having one of the narrowest housing affordability gaps in the country, Boston nevertheless faces pressures from increasing population growth. Like many urban areas across the country, Boston also faces increased incidences of climate impacts like extreme heat, coastal and riverine flooding, and more frequent stormwater flooding. In 2019, the Boston chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) issued an RFP for Section 4 funding (up to $9,000) to assist community development corporations (CDCs) and community housing development organizations (CDHOs) with preparing the city’s affordable housing stock for extreme weather, sea-level rise, and other impacts of climate change. Specifically, the Resilient Affordable Housing Grant program provided funding to conduct resiliency assessments for vulnerable properties (located in the floodplain or at-risk for extreme heat), as well as for creating emergency management and training plans.

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