Financing Options through the Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Program

The program works with lenders statewide to provide eligible small businesses and not-for-profits with access to low-interest energy efficiency project financing. Applicants must have an energy assessment that meets NYSERDA’s standards. Eligible applicants can get a free energy assessment.

After the energy assessment is complete and the organization has decided what measures to implement, an application for low-interest financing can be submitted. Two options are available:

  • Participation Loan
    NYSERDA provides 50% of the loan principle, up to $50,000, at 0% interest, and the lender provides the balance of the loan at its market rate. Lenders can now offer energy efficiency financing at about half the market rate to small businesses and not-for-profits statewide for a term of up to 10 years.
  • On-Bill Recovery Financing
    NYSERDA offers low-interest On-Bill Recovery Financing that makes it possible for small businesses and not-for-profits to use the savings on their energy bills to pay for their energy efficiency upgrades.  The payments added to the bill will be less than the estimated cost savings. Customers of the following utilities may be eligible for On-Bill Recovery Financing: Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Con Edison, PSEG Long Island, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation, National Grid (upstate NY customers only), Orange and Rockland, and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation.

For a more detailed comparison of the two options, review the Financing Options Document.

How to Apply

Step 1:
Complete an energy assessment.

Step 2:
Before applying for financing, small businesses and not-for-profits need to:

  • Decide which assessment recommendations to install
  • Identify any available NYSERDA or utility incentives
  • Get contractor quotes for the cost of doing the work
  • Get NYSERDA to approve the Request for Financing package (see step 3)

It is in the best interest for applicants to apply for any NYSERDA, utility, and other incentives that may be available. The total cost of the project less any available incentives will be eligible for financing.

NYSERDA's Existing Facilities Program offers incentives for energy efficiency improvements for non-residential customers. Some technologies are pre-qualified for incentives by NYSERDA. These include lighting, HVAC, variable frequency drives, commercial appliances and more.

Step 3:
Before applying for financing, small businesses and not-for-profits must complete, sign, and have NYSERDA approve the Request for Financing Package, which includes:

  • The Request for Financing Form [PDF]
  • The Approved Energy Efficiency Measures Worksheet [PDF]
  • Visit instructions page for instructions for completing the Approved
  • Energy Efficiency Measures Worksheet
  • A copy of any incentive applications (if applicable)
  • A copy of contractor quotes and technical cut sheets
  • A copy of the energy assessment

Step 4:
Send the completed and signed Request for Financing Package to NYSERDA for approval
Email to

Mail to:
Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Financing
Attention: Kevin Hunt
17 Columbia Circle
Albany, NY 12203-6399

NYSERDA will notify the customer if the Request for Financing Package is approved or if additional information is required.

Organizations may choose to initiate project planning and development related to their energy efficiency project (e.g., design and specification, contract documents and bids, ordering equipment, scheduling work) prior to their loan closing. However, they do so at their own risk. Organizations may begin installation of their energy efficiency projects only after they close on the loan with their lender. Organizations that install any portion of their energy efficiency project prior to loan closing may be disqualified from the program.

Step 5:
To apply for your financing, take your NYSERDA-approved Request for Financing Package to a participating lender of your choice. A list of Participating Lenders can be found on NYSERDA's Small Commercial Lenders List [PDF].

If your lender is not on the list, ask them to sign and complete the Participation Loan Agreement [PDF] and return it to NYSERDA according to the instructions on the form.

The following institutions are eligible to participate in the financing program, as long as they are regulated by Federal or State regulators and licensed to operate in New York State:

  • Community development financial institutions
  • Credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Association
  • Commercial banks
  • Trust companies
  • Savings banks
  • Savings and loan associations
  • Mortgage lenders

Step 6:
Wait for the loan decision. The lender will decide whether or not to issue a Participation Loan to an organization based on the lender's underwriting criteria. The lender will add the Project Participation Agreement to the Request for Financing Package, indicating the loan terms it has determined for the Borrower, and submit it to NYSERDA for approval.

Organizations that install any portion of their energy efficiency project prior to loan closing may be disqualified from the program.

The lender will evaluate whether or not to issue a NYSERDA On-Bill Recovery Loan to a borrower based on NYSERDA’s underwriting criteria. Criteria for the On-Bill Recovery Loan include but are not limited to:

  • Organization in existence at least two years
  • Credit score of 650 or higher
  • No bankruptcies within the last 5 years
  • No current judgments or liens in excess of $5,000
  • Debt service coverage ratio > 1.2

*These criteria are subject to change.

Organizations that install any portion of their energy efficiency project prior to loan closing may be disqualified from the program.

Step 7:
If approved, finalize the financing. After the lender closes the loan, the installation contractor has 90 days to complete the energy efficiency project and submit a Certificate of Completion [PDF] to NYSERDA. Within 5 days of closing, a Technical Consultant will contact you to schedule a post-installation inspection, which will be scheduled for within two weeks following the 90 days of loan closing. The Technical Consultant will remind you of the inspection prior to visiting your site. The inspection is to verify that the project was installed as approved.