June 8, 2011, 8:00 pm ET - Amendment SA 440 proposed by Senator Merkley.
June 13, 2011, 8:00 pm ET - Considered by Senate.
June 14, 2011, 8:00 pm ET - Considered by Senate.
June 15, 2011, 8:00 pm ET - Considered by Senate.
June 20, 2011, 8:00 pm ET - Considered by Senate.
Full Text of this Amendment
At the end of the bill, add the following:
SEC. __. LOW-COST ENERGY EFFICIENCY LOANS.
(a) Definitions.--In this section:
(1) ELIGIBLE PARTICIPANT.--The term "eligible participant" means a homeowner who receives financial assistance from a qualified financing entity to carry out energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements to an existing home or other residential building of the homeowner listed under subsection (d).
(2) PROGRAM.--The term "program" means the Energy Efficiency Loan Program established under subsection (b).
(3) QUALIFIED FINANCING ENTITY.--The term "qualified financing entity" means a State, political subdivision of a State, tribal government, electric utility, natural gas utility, nonprofit or community-based organization, energy service company, retailer, or any other qualified entity that--
(A) meets the eligibility requirements of this section; and
(B) is designated by the Governor of a State.
(4) QUALIFIED LOAN PROGRAM MECHANISM.--The term "qualified loan program mechanism" means a loan program that is--
(A) administered by a qualified financing entity; and
(B) principally funded--
(i) by funds provided by or overseen by a State; or
(ii) through the energy loan program of the Federal National Mortgage Association.
(5) SECRETARY.--The term "Secretary" means the Secretary of Energy.
(b) Establishment.--The Secretary shall establish an Energy Efficiency Loan Program under which the Secretary shall make funds available to States to support financial assistance provided by qualified financing entities for making qualified energy efficiency or renewable efficiency improvements listed under subsection (d).
(c) Eligibility of Qualified Financing Entities.--To be eligible to participate in the program, a qualified financing entity shall--
(1) offer a financing product under which eligible participants may pay over time for the cost to the eligible participant (after all applicable Federal, State, local, and other rebates or incentives are applied) of making improvements listed under subsection (d);
(2) require all financed improvements to be performed by contractors in a manner that meets minimum standards established by the Secretary; and
(3) establish standard underwriting criteria to determine the eligibility of program applicants, which criteria shall be consistent with--
(A) with respect to unsecured consumer loan programs, standard underwriting criteria used under the energy loan program of the Federal National Mortgage Association; or
(B) with respect to secured loans or other forms of financial assistance, commercially recognized best practices applicable to the form of financial assistance being provided (as determined by the designated entity administering the program in the State).
(d) Qualified Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy Improvements.--Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall publish a list of energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements to existing homes that qualify under the program.
(e) Allocation.--In making funds available to States for each fiscal year under this section, the Secretary shall use the formula used to allocate funds to States to carry out State energy conservation plans established under part D of title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6321 et seq.).
(f) Qualified Financing Entities.--Before making funds available to a State under this section, the Secretary shall require the Governor of the State to provide to the Secretary a letter of assurance that the State--
(1) has 1 or more qualified financing entities that meet the requirements of this section;
(2) has established a qualified loan program mechanism that--
(A) includes a methodology to ensure credible energy savings or renewable energy generation;
(B) incorporates an effective repayment mechanism, which may include--
(i) on-utility-bill repayment;
(ii) tax assessment or other form of property assessment financing;
(iii) municipal service charges;
(iv) energy or energy efficiency services contracts;
(v) energy efficiency power purchase agreements;
(vi) unsecured loans applying the underwriting requirements of the energy loan program of the Federal National Mortgage Association; or
(vii) alternative contractual repayment mechanisms that have been demonstrated to have appropriate risk mitigation features; and
(C) will provide, in a timely manner, all information regarding the administration of the program as the Secretary may require to permit the Secretary to meet the reporting requirements of subsection (i).
(g) Use of Funds.--Funds made available to States under the program may be used to support financing products offered by qualified financing entities to eligible participants for eligible energy efficiency work, by providing--
(1) interest rate reductions;
(2) loan loss reserves or other forms of credit enhancement;
(3) revolving loan funds from which qualified financing entities may offer direct loans; or
(4) other debt instruments or financial products necessary--
(A) to maximize leverage provided through available funds; and
(B) to support widespread deployment of energy efficiency finance programs.
(h) Use of Repayment Funds.--In the case of a revolving loan fund established by a State described in subsection (g)(3), a qualified financing entity may use funds repaid by eligible participants under the program to provide financial assistance for additional eligible participants to make improvements listed under subsection (d) in a manner that is consistent with this section or other such criteria as are prescribed by the State.
(i) Program Evaluation.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a program evaluation that describes--
(1) how many eligible participants have participated in the program;
(2) how many jobs have been created through the program, directly and indirectly;
(3) what steps could be taken to promote further deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits;
(4) the quantity of verifiable energy savings, homeowner energy bill savings, and other benefits of the program; and
(5) the performance of the programs carried out by qualified financing entities under this section, including information on the rate of default and repayment.
(j) Credit Support for Financing Programs.--Section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16516) is amended--
(1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:
"(4) Energy efficiency projects, including projects to retrofit residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, facilities, and equipment, including financing programs that finance the retrofitting of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, facilities, and equipment.".
(2) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (f); and
(3) by inserting after subsection (d) the following:
"(e) Credit Support for Financing Programs.--
"(1) IN GENERAL.--In the case of programs that finance the retrofitting of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, facilities, and equipment described in subsection (a)(4), the Secretary may--
"(A) offer loan guarantees for portfolios of debt obligations; and
"(B) purchase or make commitments to purchase portfolios of debt obligations.
"(2) TERM.--Notwithstanding section 1702(f), the term of any debt obligation that receives credit support under this subsection shall require full repayment over a period not to exceed the lesser of--
"(A) 30 years; and
"(B) the projected weighted average useful life of the measure or system financed by the debt obligation or portfolio of debt obligations (as determined by the Secretary).
"(3) UNDERWRITING.--The Secretary may--
"(A) delegate underwriting responsibility for portfolios of debt obligations under this subsection to financial institutions that meet qualifications determined by the Secretary; and
"(B) determine an appropriate percentage of loans in a portfolio to review in order to confirm sound underwriting.
"(4) ADMINISTRATION.--Subsections (c) and (d)(3) of section 1702 and subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to loan guarantees made under this subsection.".
(k) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section and the amendments made by this section such sums as are necessary.
(As printed in the Congressional Record for the Senate on Jun 9, 2011.)