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Media Coverage On KeystoneHELP Launch

Media Coverage On KeystoneHELP Launch

Power Engineering

Popular KeystoneHELP Program Re-Launches: Millions of Pennsylvania Residents Now Eligible for Low-Interest, Fixed-Rate Financing for Energy Efficient Home Improvements

May 12, 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA and PHILADELPHIA, PA–(Marketwired – May 12, 2016) –  The Pennsylvania Treasury, in partnership with leading national clean energy finance company Renew Financial and the Energy Programs Consortium (EPC), a national nonprofit, is pleased to announce the re-launch of the award-winning Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (KeystoneHELP), which provides Pennsylvania homeowners with up to $20,000 of affordable financing for home energy efficiency improvements. KeystoneHELP is additionally supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

“Thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners have already benefited significantly from home upgrades made possible by the KeystoneHELP program and now many more homeowners will be able to take advantage of this program,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “We are excited to see this program made available again so that homeowners can make improvements that are not only better for their families, but better for our communities and our environment.”

Originally launched statewide in 2006, KeystoneHELP is an innovative public/private partnership that allowed approximately 14,000 homeowners to borrow up to $15,000 at very competitive rates for a range of home improvements, including HVAC equipment, water heaters, air conditioning, roofing, insulation, windows, doors, siding, geothermal power systems, and other improvements. Before going dormant in July 2014 due to a lack of funding, the program became a national model for residential energy efficiency financing.

Pennsylvania Treasurer Timothy Reese added, “KeystoneHELP is an innovative partnership between government and the private sector that improves our state’s economy, helps our residents lower their utility bills and save energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”

The re-launch of KeystoneHELP will build on the significant economic and environmental impacts that earlier projects are already having. Those projects are estimated to produce energy efficiencies that — over the life of the loans — will reduce utility bills by more than $140 million, avoid 421,633 metric tons of greenhouse gases and save .53 terawatt hours of electricity. Additionally, these projects will reduce natural gas usage by an estimated 15.7 million therms, cut heating oil consumption by 6 million gallons and lower propane usage by 1.9 million gallons.

“Revitalizing Keystone HELP is a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania to continue our leadership in reducing air and water pollution in the commonwealth and in the nation,” said DEP Secretary John Quigley. “The cleanest electron is the one that you don’t have to produce, and through KeystoneHELP, we can cut down on air pollution from electricity generation while keeping more of consumers’ money in their wallets.”

The re-launch is made possible, in part, by a first-of-its kind financing partnership that includes PENNVEST — the state’s water infrastructure development authority. Pennsylvania is the first state in the country to use its revolving water funds to support loans financing residential energy efficiency improvements that protect water quality by reducing airborne emissions.

KeystoneHELP is also supported by a secondary loan market created by the Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans (WHEEL), the only national financing facility that offers affordable financing for home energy efficiency projects not only in Pennsylvania but also in many other states in the country. WHEEL was created in 2014 through a collaboration involving Renew Financial, Pennsylvania Treasury, Citigroup, EPC and others.

KeystoneHELP was originally launched in 2006 by energy efficiency lender AFC First Financial Corporation, now a part of Renew Financial, as a pilot program with the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund and expanded statewide with Pennsylvania Treasury shortly after. The program was recognized with a 2013 Stars of Energy Efficiency award from the Alliance to Save Energy and won several other energy efficiency awards. And both Renew Financial and Citi were recognized with an Energy Efficiency award from Environmental Finance in March 2016, which noted the first WHEEL securitization as one of the “Deals of the Year.”

Benefits to Homeowners

KeystoneHELP efficiency loans are fixed-rate loans with longer terms available than typical bank financing. Since there is no penalty for prepayment, homeowners may pay it off at any time.

Philadelphia homeowner Lizzie Rothwell is a KeystoneHELP customer who has realized significant savings on her utility bills thanks to various home efficiency upgrades she completed, including roof coating and insulation, new Energy Star appliances, electric panel replacements, new ductwork and air sealing.

“My husband and I bought a traditional Philadelphia trinity-style townhouse that was built around 1915 and definitely in need of some updates,” said Rothwell. “We quickly realized that our top priority was to upgrade the energy performance. KeystoneHELP made it possible for us to finance a package of home energy improvements with a reassuringly low and fixed interest rate. The drop in our utility bills was immediately apparent, and our house is much more comfortable year-round as a result of the improvements.”

“We are extremely proud to be able to again offer the KeystoneHELP program to Pennsylvania residents, enabling them to make crucial energy efficiency improvements to their homes,” said Renew Financial CEO Cisco DeVries. “Our goal is to help homeowners across the country make these much needed home improvements to reduce their energy use and utility bills, and this is one more step in achieving that goal.”

KeystoneHELP program features include:

  • Low, fixed interest rate
  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Loans up to $20,000, unsecured financing
  • Flexible repayment terms of 5, 7 or 10 years
  • 100 percent of the project can be financed
  • Thousands of eligible improvements to save energy,and money
  • Up to 25% of the financed amount can be used for non-qualifying products
  • Work completed by KeystoneHELP Registered Contractors
  • No upfront costs and no hidden fees
  • Fast, simple approval and application process
  • Strong consumer protections

Registered Network of Contractors

Renew Financial is building mutually beneficial relationships with contractors/dealers in the home services industry. All contractors who participate in the KeystoneHELP program are fully licensed and have received training on the program and how to respond to consumer inquiries. Only approved contractors/dealers are allowed to perform work under this financing and more than 250 contractors statewide have already enrolled in the program since enrollments opened last month.

Pennsylvania residents interested in learning more details about KeystoneHELP should go to keystonehelp.com.

Notes for Media :

  • Press kit materials are available for download here. B-roll will also be available.
  • A press conference is being held at the Rothwell residence, 1239 S. 7th Street (between Wharton and Latona), Philadelphia, on Thursday, May 12 at 11:00am.

About The Pennsylvania Treasury

The Pennsylvania Treasury is an independent department of state government led by the state treasurer, who is elected every four years. The department’s primary duty is to safeguard and manage the state’s public funds. It invests state money to generate income on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania, reviews and processes payments for state government agencies, and serves as custodian of more than $100 billion in state funds. Key Treasury programs include Unclaimed Property, PA 529 College Savings Program and the Board of Finance and Revenue. To learn more visit patreasury.gov.

About Renew Financial

Renew Financial was founded in 2008 by Cisco DeVries, who brought together a multidisciplinary team of experts in finance, technology, operations and government policy to innovate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing model. The company specializes in affordable financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation projects and is developing an array of financing products that will help move America toward a clean energy model.

Additional information may be found at renewfinancial.com | Twitter: @RenewFinancial | LinkedIn:linkedin.com/company/renewable-funding-llc | Facebook:facebook.com/renewfinancial | Blog:Blog

Media Contacts:
For Pennsylvania Treasury:
Scott Sloat
717-695-1789
ssloat@patreasury.gov

For Renew Financial:

Bill Douglass
Sparkpr
646-504-0890
bdouglass@sparkpr.com

Pittsburgh Business Times

Keystone Home Energy Loan Program returns in Pennsylvania

May 12, 2016 by Patty Tascarella

The Keystone Home Energy Loan Program has been relaunched, the Pennsylvania Treasury, and partners Renew Financial and the Energy Programs Consortium, announced on Thursday.

KeystoneHELP provides Pennsylvania homeowners with up to $20,000 of affordable financing for home energy efficiency improvements.

The program originally debuted in 2006 but went dormant in 2014 due to lack of funding. It was used by about 14,000 homeowners to purchase new HVAC systems, insulation, windows and doors, and to make other improvements.

KeystoneHELP is additionally supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority.

StateImpact (NPR)

State revives energy efficiency loans for homeowners

May 12, 2016 by Susan Phillips

Pennsylvania has revived a program that helps homeowners secure low interest loans to make energy efficiency improvements. KeystoneHELP is a public private partnership between the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, Renew Financial, and the nonprofit Energy Programs Consortium. Through the program, Pennsylvania homeowners can get up to $20,000 to make home improvements including more efficient HVAC equipment, water heaters, air conditioning, roofing, insulation and windows.

Philadelphia architect Lizzie Rothwell says she and her husband used the energy efficiency loan to install new roof insulation and replace the duct work in their 2-bedroom South Philly home. She says this reduced their winter energy bills by $40 a month.

“We talk about the energy use of our cars but I don’t think people think about their homes that much and its really important,” she said. “It’s a huge huge percentage [of total energy use].”

Rothwell works designing energy efficiency housing for low income residents. She says it’s a pretty hard sell to get private customers interested in energy efficiency. But she says with climate change, more homeowners should be thinking about “future-proofing” their homes from hotter temperatures, and stronger storms. Rothwell made sure she purchased a house far enough away from potential flooding.

Speaking outside of Rothwell’s two-bedroom home, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley called the program a national model for government that works.

“Creativity, partnering, co-investing and working with the private financial sector to expand money-saving air and water quality-improving investments for Pennsylvania families is a big deal,” he said.

The program was originally created in 2006, but was mothballed in 2014 due to a lack of funding.